The differential effects of regulatory reform: evidence from the Australian luxury hotel industry

Angela Knox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Australia's industrial relations framework has undergone substantial change since the 1980s. This has involved a series of distinct phases including: award restructuring, the introduction of enterprise and individual bargaining, and award simplification. Notably, the federal award for the hotel industry formed the Test Case for award simplification, forming the first simplified award in Australia. Exploratory research analysing the Test Case processes suggested that the simplified award favours employers and leads to disadvantageous outcomes for employees. This study builds on the extant evidence by analysing the implications of award simplification in the context of actual hotel workplaces. Its purpose is to examine the effects of award simplification and compare them with the outcomes associated with enterprise bargaining, focusing in particular on working time arrangements in the Australian hotel industry. The study adopts a qualitative approach, involving multiple case studies. Overall, the findings suggest that hotel employers are adopting bifurcated employment strategies, reflecting their respective bargaining arrangements. At a more subtle level, the effects of regulatory reform differed both within and between workplaces, highlighting rather distinctive and varied implications for many different employees. Importantly, this revealed the diverse needs and preferences of the parties involved and illustrated the complex outcomes associated with regulatory reform. These outcomes appear to be substantially more nuanced than indicated previously.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-474
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Industrial Relations
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • award simplification
  • enterprise bargaining
  • hotel industry
  • working time


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