Court decision to affect casual employees entitlements

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A recent decision by the Federal Court has called into question the entitlements that casual workers can receive. There are over 2 million casual employees in Australia, with a high percentage of these employees working on a regular and systematic basis. The decision of WorkPac Pty Ltd V. Rossato [2020] FCAFC 84 was handed down on 20 May 2020. This decision has found that some casual employees that are working on a regular and systematic basis are entitled to the same leave benefits as those employees that are part-time or full time.

But what does this mean for an employer with casual staff?

If you employ casual staff, you will need to consider whether they are working on a regular and systematic basis. Should your casual employees be working regular and systematic hours, you may be required to pay leave entitlements from when they began regular and systematic employment.

You should also consider whether there are terms in their contract relating to the repayment of casual loading if your casual employees are found to be regular and systematic employees to prevent “double dipping” of entitlements.

The Prime Minister has recently called for a summit of unions, employer groups and government to consider changes to the country’s industrial relations system.  One thing that Scott Morrison has said should be considered is sick leave and holiday pay for casuals.  Given the ongoing economic effect of COVID-19, it may be that a larger proportion of the workforce are casual in future.

If this article has raised any concerns for you or your organisation please do not hesitate to contact either John Hayward or Kate Smith on (07) 4046 1124, for advice specific to your circumstances. 

This article has been prepared with the assistance of Ruby Hedrick, law graduate. 

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