The ACTU has resisted employer arguments to delay any rise in minimum pay, while it has accepted that the annual wage review timetable should be amended to enable the expert panel to consider national accounts data that is likely to identify the early economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Employers have told the annual wage review panel that if the coronavirus pandemic worsens, it might have to consider measures similar to the 10% depression-era reduction in award rates or the GFC minimum wage pause.
The FWC has expedited the hearing of the restaurant industry's bid to vary its award to boost hours and leave flexibility as it shifts to a COVID-19 business model based on takeaways and home delivery.
Restaurant employers have applied to the FWC to vary the industry award to provide more flexibility to deal with the coronavirus virus, following on from similar cases involving clerical and hotels awards.
The coronavirus pandemic requires a temporary but fundamental reconsideration of the Fair Work Act's safety net, according to a joint bid to vary a key award to provide substantial operational and hours flexibility.
FWC President Iain Ross will this afternoon hear a joint application by the UWU and the Australian Hotels Association to vary the hospitality award 2010 to help businesses to save jobs as the coronavirus crisis bites.
The "exceptional circumstances" created by COVID-19 warrant delaying the operative date of any minimum wage increase by a fortnight to July 15, according to the Ai Group, while the Victorian Government is calling for a rise of at least 3%.