Fast food, restaurants & cafes

graphic of fast food, restaurant cloche and menu, coffee and cake

Are you working in or running a business in the fast food, restaurant or cafe industry?

On this page you'll find everything you need to help you understand your workplace rights and obligations.

Rights and obligations during coronavirus

Visit Coronavirus and Australian workplace laws for information about pay, leave, alternative working arrangements and stand downs during coronavirus.

If you have questions about your rights and obligations during coronavirus, our Virtual Assistant, Frankie, may be able to help. You can find her in the bottom right hand corner of every page on Coronavirus and Australian workplace laws.

Understand your award

Awards are legal documents that explain minimum pay rates and conditions of employment. They apply to employers and employees depending on the industry they work in and the type of job they do. 

Learn more about your award with our Fast food industry and Restaurant and cafes industry award interactive tool.

Not sure which award applies to you? Use our Find my award tool to find out.

Find the right pay

Employees must be paid for their work in money. The amount an employee needs to be paid can depend on their age, duties and hours of work. Payment also needs to include any penalties, overtime and other award entitlements for that pay period, such as:

  • weekend rates
  • public holiday rates
  • working extra hours.

Casual employees are also paid a casual loading (a higher pay rate for being a casual employee).

Example: When flat rates don’t cover weekend penalties

When Georgia started working at a local café, her employer Dave said he would pay her a flat hourly rate that was higher than the award rate. Dave said the flat rate would be high enough to cover weekend work, casual loading and other entitlements.

One pay period, Georgia did a lot more weekend work than usual. She compared the pay she got for that period against what her award, the Restaurant Award, said she was entitled to. With the weekend penalties she should have got, she realised she’d been underpaid. She told Dave.

Dave looked into it and found Georgia was right. His flat rates weren’t high enough to cover the weekend hours she’d worked that week. Dave worked out how much he owed Georgia and paid her the shortfall. 

You can use our interactive tools for the Fast Food Award and the Restaurant Award to find out which current pay rate applies to you.

Other tools to help you with pay rates are:

Learn more about minimum wages, penalty rates, overtime and allowances on our Pay page.

Record-keeping and pay slips

Employees must be given a pay slip within 1 working day of being paid.

As an employer, record-keeping is important to keep your business running smoothly. It’s also the law.

Find information about the kinds of records employers need to keep and what needs to be included on pay slips on our record-keeping and pay slips pages.

Salary payments

An annual salary can't be less than the minimum amount an employee would have been paid under their award.

It's a good idea to check employment contracts for details of any annual salary arrangements.

An employee’s annual salary must be reviewed after each year to make sure the employee was paid enough.

Best practice tip

Employers must keep track of hours worked and unpaid breaks taken by all of their salaried employees. These records must be provided as paper copies for employees to sign every pay period or roster cycle.

Reconciling records throughout the year will make it easier to avoid big mistakes and debts when it's time for the annual salary review.

Find information about the rules in your award about making an annual salary agreement by selecting your industry on our Annualised salaries page.

Hours of work

An employee's hours of work (including overtime) are set out in the relevant award and can be different for full-time, part-time and casual employees. Employees are also entitled to rest and meal breaks.

For more information about these entitlements, see our Hours of work, breaks and rosters overview page. 

Calculate leave

Employees are entitled to different types of leave as long as they meet certain conditions.

Learn more about the types of leave including:

Calculate annual, sick and carer’s leave using our Leave Calculator.

Interactive templates

We have free templates that will help you in the workplace. They include letters, checklists, pay slips, agreements, and time sheet and roster templates.

Visit our Templates page and use our interactive template tool for a quick and easy way to tailor our letter templates to your needs.

Get personalised workplace information and tools from us

Subscribe to email updates to get personalised workplace information from us.

You can also sign up for My account to find tailored workplace information for you, make online enquiries and save calculations from our Pay and Conditions Tool and Pay guides to your profile.

Tools and resources

Related information

Have a workplace problem?

Problems can happen in any workplace. If you have a workplace problem, we have tools and information to help you resolve it.

Check out our Fixing a workplace problem section for practical information about:

  • working out if there is a problem
  • speaking with your employer or employee about fixing the problem
  • getting help from us if you can't fix the problem.

Help for small business

  • Contact the small business helpline for quick and easy access to our advisers and workplace relations information. Call the helpline on 13 13 94 and press option 3.
  • Find tools, resources and information you might need in our Small Business Showcase.
  • Our Employer Advisory Service (EAS) gives eligible small businesses free tailored written advice on pay and entitlement issues. Learn more about this service at Employer Advisory Service – overview.