Casual Workers Entitled to More as a recent ruling in WorkPac Pty Ltd v Rossato [2020] FCAFC 84 demonstrates

Employment Law – Important Case Law Update
WorkPac Pty Ltd v Rossato [2020] FCAFC 84

An employer lost their application to declare that an employee could not claim National Employment Standards (“NES”) because they were a casual employee as defined by ss 86, 95 and 106 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (“Fair Work Act”).

Because Mr. Rossato was a “Casual Field Team Member”, the employer sought to not pay such NES entitlements such as casual leave and compassionate leave.

The application and the debate arise out of a Full Court decision of 16 August 2018, WorkPac Pty Ltd v Skene [2018] FCAFC 131, that dealt with s 86 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and the meaning and content of the phrase “casual employees”. Thus the question was raised again to the Full Court of Appeal of the Federal Court from WorkPac Pty Ltd v Rossato [2018] FCA 2100 as to whether this would apply in the case of Mr. Rossato in the way it did with Skene.

A full bench of the Federal Court ruled yesterday that held regular, ongoing casuals are entitled to paid annual leave, personal leave [carer’s leave] and paid compassionate leave.

From this ruling, Employers may not utilise use extra pay strategies to otherwise ‘set off’ that liability.

The chief executive of the Australian Industry Group, Innes Willox, said the decision would allow “double dipping” by casuals and he urged the federal government to intervene with “urgent legislative reform”. He also is quoted as stating that “Casuals make up around 20 per cent of the Australian workforce” in a Newcastle Herald article.

The full ruling by the Court may be read here