In Australia, we have over 1 million casual workers. Some workers love the flexibility. Having days off when they like and earning a higher wage than their full-time counterparts. Unfortunately, some workers don’t want to be employed on a casual basis…but that’s all they can find. They still might be working full-time hours but lack the security, annual and sick leave.
And that’s what is alleged to have happened Robert Rossato. Rossato was employed by Glencore to work at two Queensland mines. His employment came through a work hire company – WorkPac.
Rossato was employed on a casual basis on rolling contracts over a three and a half year period and received a 25% loading over his full-time counterparts.
On Wednesday the Federal Court upheld a 2018 decision that casual mineworkers who had regular and predictable shifts were entitled to full-time benefits such as annual leave.
Workpac argued that because Rossato was paid a 25% loading it would be considered ‘double-dipping’ if he were to receive full-time benefits. Workpac also argued that Rossato should have to give up his casual loading if he would like the benefits. The Federal Court disagreed with both these claims.
What does this mean for casual workers?
The decision does not mean that casual employees will start to see annual leave accruing on their paycheck. There is still the option for the case to be appealed in the High Court of Australia. And the government has already shown a keen interested in the case.
The case has the potential to affect many business owners who choose to employ casual staff. It may mean that the employees who have regular and predictable hours, will be making a case that they should be receiving annual and sick leave.