On 4 August 2021, the High Court handed down its Judgment in the case of Workpac v Rossato. The decision provides major clarification about casual employee entitlements and is considered a significant victory for employers. In short, the High Court has decided that casual employees can’t claim paid leave entitlements without a firm advance commitment from the employer as to the duration and timing of future engagements.
The decision overturned the Full Federal Court’s Judgments in Skene and Rossato and has put to bed employer’s concerns about double dipping.
Importantly, the Court said that it’s not enough that a casual employee reasonably expects future work. This alone doesn’t make them a permanent employee.
An employee won’t be a permanent employee (and therefore entitled to paid leave) unless the contract of employment is clear that:
The employee is engaged according to the employer’s requirements; and
The employee has the choice to accept or reject each engagement.
Employers should review how their casual workforces are engaged. If unsure, seek legal advice about the wording of the engagements.
It’s critical that casuals are engaged by a written contract. It helps clarify the employer’s intentions regarding the arrangement from the start of the employment relationship.
For more information, contact me on 08 8227 2829 or access a copy of the decision here.