Determine the Correct Payroll Award for your Restaurant Employees


It can be pretty daunting to run a payroll for a busy café or restaurant because of all the compliance surrounding PAYG tax, superannuation and Fair Work awards. Most cafes and restaurants have casual and full-time employees and therein lies the challenge of food industry payroll awards. Some employees are entitled to tiered overtime rates, meal allowances and various conditions; some are not.

Payroll award

According to Fair Work, if an employer is covered by more than one award, his employees are covered by the award classification which is most appropriate to the work performed by them and to the environment in which they normally perform. Here is the list of awards for the food industry. Consider the tasks and the business style to find out which award an employee falls under.

Restaurant Industry Award

This award applies when an employee works at a restaurant, café, coffee shop, reception centre, night club, bar or roadhouse, including tea room and catering by a business that mainly sells food and beverages to be eaten within the premises. Role classifications and definitions will affect the awards for food attendants, kitchen attendants, cooks, clerks, security, etc.

Fast Food Industry Award

This award applies when an employee is engaged in the preparation, cooking, sale, serving or delivery of ordered meals, snacks and beverages that are sold in food courts in shopping centres or take away outlets where food is sold and packaged for easy removal but eaten away from the premises.

Hospitality Industry General Award

This award applies to all employers and employees in the hospitality industry in Australia, including hotels, motels, motor inns, condominiums, serviced apartments, ski lodges, caravan parks, resorts, casinos, restaurants and wine bars. Other awards include the Registered and Licensed Clubs Award, Food Beverage and Tobacco Manufacturing Award and the Clerks Private Sector Award.

You can use Fair Work tools, but the results may not be as accurate as consulting the experts to avoid the risk of making mistakes and incurring hefty fines. Make sure you allocate the appropriate award and keep award documents in the employee’s file. Read the coverage section to understand the award scope and keep company policies accessible to your staff ensuring they understand and sign them.

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Note that some staff may be entitled to allowances, special clothing and reimbursements when travelling. A full-time employee is required to work 38 hours per week but can be rostered up to 11 hours a day. Find out penalty and overtime rates and offset agreements.

As you look for different ways to grow and improve your business, seeking professional advice from a business accountant and consultant could prove to be an important and helpful decision.

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