Understanding the fast food and restaurant industries

Use our resources and tools to understand pay, hours of work and other entitlements in the fast food, restaurant and café industries.

Interactive award summary tools

Awards are legal documents that cover employees and employers. They outline a variety of entitlements for different industries, such as minimum pay rates and hours of work.

Use our interactive award summary tools to understand your award entitlements and obligations in the fast food, restaurant and café industries:

If you aren’t sure which award covers you, visit:


Wages and penalty rates

Employees are entitled to a minimum wage based on their award and their classification in the award.

Employees may be entitled to a higher pay rate (known as a penalty rate) for working at different times or on different days, like weekends or public holidays.

Employees must be:

  • paid in money for their work
  • paid for all time worked.

Employees should not have their hours ‘rounded’ if the rounding results in an underpayment.

For more information, visit:

Salary payments and flat rates

Employees can be paid a ‘flat rate’, as long as they're paid at least the minimum amount they would have received under their award for the hours they work.

The Restaurant Award has specific rules about entering into annual wage arrangements. These arrangements allow employers to pay their employees an annualised wage to cover some of their award minimum entitlements. This arrangement is different to paying an annual salary under an employment contract.

For more information, visit:

Pay slips

Employees must be given a pay slip within one working day of being paid. Pay slips can be given electronically or in hard copy. They must include certain details about an employee’s pay.

For more information, visit Pay slips.


Employers have to keep time and wages records for 7 years.

Time and wages records have to be:

  • readily accessible to a Fair Work Inspector (FWI)
  • legible
  • in English.

Time and wages records can’t be:

  • changed unless the change is to correct an error
  • false or misleading.

For more information, visit Record-keeping.

Hours of work

Minimum hours, breaks and overtime

An employee’s hours of work, including their minimum hours, breaks and overtime entitlements, are in their award. These entitlements can be different for full-time, part-time and casual employees.

The Fast Food Award and Restaurant Award have different rules about hours of work.

The awards also include rules about rostering, such as how early rosters must be provided and where they are displayed.

Employees can keep track of their hours with our Record my hours app.

For more information, visit Hours of work, breaks and rosters.

Trial shifts

Employers can ask someone to do a trial shift to decide whether the person is suitable for the job.

Some trial shifts can be unpaid.

However, trial shifts should be paid if:

  • it isn’t needed for the person to show their skills
  • the shift has gone on for longer than is needed for the person to show their skills
  • the shift involves more than just checking out the person’s relevant skills
  • the person isn’t under direct supervision for the trial.

For more information, visit Unpaid trials.


Allowances are additional payments made to employees for:

  • doing certain tasks
  • working in certain locations
  • using a special skill
  • expenses incurred for doing their job.

Which allowances an employee is paid depends on whether they’re full-time, part-time, or casual. Some common allowances in both the restaurant award and the fast food award include:

  • meals
  • laundry
  • special clothing.

For more information, visit Allowances.


Employees can take leave from work in different situations.

Full-time and part-time employees earn paid leave including:

  • annual leave, which can be taken by agreement with their employer
  • sick and carer’s leave, which can be taken when the employee or someone they’re caring for is unwell.

Casual employees aren’t entitled to paid annual leave or sick and carer’s leave.

You can calculate your annual, sick and carer’s leave using our Leave Calculator.

For more information, visit:


Notice of termination

Employers and employees may need to give notice of termination to end the employment relationship.

Generally, permanent employees give or receive notice of termination based on their length of employment.

Casual employees aren’t required to give or receive notice of termination.

For more information, visit Notice of termination.

Final pay

After employment has ended, an employee must receive their final pay, including wages owed to them and any untaken annual leave.

For more information, visit Final pay.

Young workers and students

Young employees have minimum entitlements, just like adult employees.

The Fast Food Award and Restaurant Award include junior rates for employees under 21 years of age. These rates are a percentage of the relevant adult pay rate.

Under the Restaurant Award, employees under 21 who work as liquor service employees must be paid adult rates at the appropriate award level.

You can learn more about the minimum working age, as well as pay and entitlements for young workers at Young workers and students.

Tools and resources

More Information