“The Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) welcomes the application filed today in the High Court by WorkPac for special leave to appeal the decision of the Full Federal Court in the WorkPac v Rossato case. The decision has caused a great deal of concern amongst employers. Employees who have been paid a casual loading should not be able to turn around later and pursue ‘double-dipping’ claims for annual leave and other entitlements that the loading has been paid in lieu of,” Innes Willox, Chief Executive of the national employer association Ai Group said today.
“In the WorkPac v Rossato case, the Federal Court held that the employee in question was entitled to annual leave payments. This was despite the fact that Mr Rossato was engaged under a written contract that stated he was a casual employee and that he was paid a casual loaded rate under the relevant enterprise agreement.
“In economic evidence filed by WorkPac in support of its application, Ai Group’s Chief Economist estimated that:
- Of the is 2.6 million casual employees in Australia, 1.35 million have worked regular shifts for their current employer for 1 year or more;
- The cost of granting past annual leave entitlements to casual employees who work regular shifts and who have been employed for at least 12 months by their current employer would be approximately $10.3 billion.
- The cost of granting past personal/carer’s leave entitlements to casual employees who work regular shifts and who have been employed for at least 12 months by their current employer would be approximately $2.3 billion.
- The cost of providing redundancy pay to regular casuals who have been retrenched over the past five years would be approximately $1.6 billion.
“The application for special leave does not remove the need for urgent legislative reform to provide certainty to businesses and casual employees, and to prevent double-dipping claims by casuals who have been paid additional remuneration in lieu of the entitlements of permanent employees. This is a key issue that will be explored in one of the IR reform working groups that the Government has established, and which Ai Group is a member of,” Mr Willox said.