Casual workers may be eligible to claim annual leave entitlements, including substantial back-payments, following a landmark court ruling.
The Federal Court found that a mine truck driver is entitled to annual leave, despite a labour-hire firm employing him as a casual worker.
The decision will send shivers down the spines of businesses who employ workers under such arrangements.
However, it will also delight many Australians who work in the ever-increasing casualised workforce.
Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan from IR Claims says:
“This is big news for casual workers, especially those who work day in day out, as if they are full-time, but don’t get paid holidays.
“If you’re classified as a casual, but you work under the same conditions as a full time permanent worker, then you need to get expert advice.
“Because you could be entitled to take paid annual leave, and you could also be entitled to a pig payout when you leave the job.”
The details of Paul Skene’s case
Paul Skene worked as a truck driver at a Rio Tinto mine in central Queensland for two and a half years.
However, he was employed by labour-hire company WorkPac as a casual.
The Fair Work Act says casual workers are not entitled to:
- paid annual leave,
- sick leave,
- carer’s and compassionate leave.
However, in return, they are paid a loading on their hourly rate.
Skene’s job required him to fly-in and fly-out of the mine and work seven days on and then take seven days off.
WorkPac gave him a roster 12-months in advance, and he did not have flexibility in the hours or days he worked or didn’t work.
Last week, the Federal Court found Skene worked a regular and continuous pattern of work.
Therefore, he is entitled to annual leave.
The end of the ‘permanent casual’
Mr Heffernan says the ruling is good news for casual employees.
“Employers have rorted the system for too long by misclassifying workers as casuals,” he said.
“This court ruling has put them on notice.
“If a person works under the same conditions as a permanent worker, they should be paid as a permanent worker.
“The days of the ‘permanent casual’ are over.”
Mr Skene’s case has now been referred back to the Federal Circuit Court.
It will determine how much compensation he will receive, and what penalties will be imposed on WorkPac.
Please call our team at Industrial Relations Claims today on