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By Allyson Fletcher
Human Resources News

Breaking News: the High Court overturned the Federal Court ruling in the Workpac v Rossato case, upholding Workpac’s appeal in the Federal Court’s decision.

To refresh your memories for those of you who were keeping us with this case, the case was about the worker (Rossato) claiming to be a permanent employee and not a casual and submitting a claim for unpaid entitlements such as annual and personal leave.  The Federal Court ruling provided for Mr Rossato to be remedied with these entitlements, which would have been on top of the 25% casual loading already paid to him to cover for the same leave.  Yesterday’s High Court ruling has now reversed this decision, meaning that Workpac will not be liable for any further payments to Mr Rossato regarding leave benefits as the majority decision deemed he was in fact a casual.

The Federal Court case caused panic and confusion amongst many business owners right across the country, with many worrying that they would also be facing ‘double-dipping’ claims through the court systems.  The Federal Government realised that there was a loophole in its current legislation which is why they introduced the Omnibus legislation that came into effect in March of this year.  This new bill now provides employers with greater clarity and confidence around employing casuals.  The Fair Work Amendment Bill also now provides a legal definition of what exactly a casual is for the first time.

Businesses need casuals; they are an integral part of the business by providing extra resources whenever needed such as during busier times or when other team members are on leave.  Without the High Court ruling, many businesses may have decided to end all casual employment due to the risks.  This would have been a shame as many employees prefer to be employed on a casual basis as it suits their personal needs, eg studying at university, parent of young children, etc, etc.

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