In a significant ruling of the Federal Court this week (Wed 20 May) the court found that an employee Mr Rossato who was employed under several written casual contracts by a labour-hire company, Workpac was entitled to claim payments for annual leave, personal leave and compassionate leave.
The court found that Mr Rossato was not a casual under the enterprise agreement or otherwise as his employment was stable, regular and predictable. Rosters were set well in advance. Accordingly, the court found that Mr Rossato was entitled to annual leave, personal leave, compassionate leave and public holidays.
Of particular concern to employers and employer groups is the finding that the employer could not "set off" the 25% casual loading it had paid to Mr Rossato against the claim for annual leave, personal leave and public holidays.
The decision has been applauded by union groups.
The Federal government will be considering if changes to legislation are necessary to effectively reverse the impact of this court finding.
We are likely to see an increase in litigation around this area from Government, Employer Groups, Unions and Employees alike.
In the meantime, employers and casual employees alike should review carefully their written contracts, and, the practical ways casual employees are rostered to determine the implications of this decision and make changes if required.
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