By Amanda Curatore

Owning and operating a gym or fitness centre has always come with its challenges, but thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, the complexities of running a business in the fitness industry have increased ten-fold as. On top of ensuring your premises are safe for your patrons and staff, you still need to ensure your business is compliant under the Fitness Industry Award 2010 (Award).

A very common method of rostering sees employees performing split shifts. While this type of arrangement comes with its advantages, that is, the ability to provide flexibility to your clients, often what goes unrecognised is the ‘broken shift allowance’ which employees must be paid when performing a split shift. This article will explore the intricacies of the Award with regard to split shifts so you can be assured you’re compliant with all terms and conditions of the Award when such arrangements are being performed.

What is a broken shift?

A broken shift (or split shift) is a shift which is split into two parts. Pursuant to clause 24.3 of the Award, an employee may be rostered to work a broken shift provided that:

  1. the shift is not broken into two or more parts;
  2. the total length of the shift is not less than three hours, exclusive of meal breaks; and
  3. the span of hours from the start of the first part of the shift to the end of the second part of the shift is not more than 12 hours.

An example of a broken shift would be a shift from 8 AM – 12 PM and then a second shift that same day 4:30 PM – 7:30 PM.

What allowance is payable when an employee performs a broken shift?

In accordance with clause 18.4 of the Award, if an employee is rostered on for a broken shift, they must be paid a penalty of 1.7% of the standard rate (currently $818.50).

What if employees manage their own roster and choose to work a broken shift without the employer specifically rostering them on?

Interpretation of Awards have a long-standing history; there is historic case law that is still relevant today which provides that when interpreting the meaning of words in an Award, the plain and ordinary meaning should be favoured. Since the word ‘rostered’ should be given its ordinary meaning, whether the employee or employer is the one responsible for physically controlling or administrating the roster, is immaterial. This is because a rostered shift should be given its plain meaning which means any shift which has been rostered.

With this interpretation in mind, even if your employees roster their own shifts, if they themselves roster a broken shift, then the allowance must be paid. Therefore, if you actively monitor the roster to ensure no broken shift is rostered, then you will not be entitled to pay the broken shift allowance.

If you have a query about the Fitness Industry Award, please contact the team at HR Assured.

Amanda Curatore is a qualified Senior Workplace Relations Consultant at FCB Group and HR Assured. Amanda is highly experienced in providing workplace relations advice and assistance to clients in a wide range of matters including employment contracts, modern award interpretation, managing performance, bullying and harassment, terminations and managing risk.