In this Case Update, we look at three recent employment law cases. Full details of all the decisions are available on EI Legal’s website.

Landmark decision on personal/carer’s leave to be appealed

The Federal Court recently handed down a decision on how much personal/carer’s leave employees receive. The case concerned the meaning of “day” in the context of the 10 days personal/carer’s leave permanent employees are entitled to. The claim was brought on behalf of shift workers, who worked three shifts of 12 hours per week. Traditional thinking is that the maximum personal/carer’s leave an employee can accrue in a year is 76 hours (based on a day being 7.6 hours, or one-fifth of a 38 hour week). This would mean that the shift workers in question could not take 10 full days paid personal/carer’s leave, given their longer shift lengths. The employees claimed that they were in fact entitled to 120 hours personal/carer’s leave per year (10 x 12 hours). The court found in the employees’ favour and in doing so has raised questions about the proper way of accruing leave for all shift workers and part-time employees. The Government has now intervened in the case and announced it is seeking permission to have it appealed. Read EI Legal’s articles on the original court decision here and on the appeal here.

Are managers in the hospitality industry “award-free”? FWC provides guidance

A recent decision in the Fair Work Commission has clarified whether managers working in businesses covered by the Hospitality Industry General Award 2010 are entitled to the benefits of the award. As a rule of thumb, modern awards do not generally cover senior managers, although this varies from award to award. The case concerned a manager in a pub who was employed as the Functions Manager and later as the Licensee. The FWC found that although the award applied to her first position, it did not to her second position. The case drew a distinction between a “Hotel Manager” (which is award covered) and a “Senior Manager” (which is not). Read the full article here.

WorkPac is back: Class action for “misclassified” casuals

In the latest development in the WorkPac v Skene saga, the CFMMEU union is taking a class action against mining contractor WorkPac in respect of employees “misclassified” as casuals. This is a useful reminder that labelling an employee a casual, but treating them as a permanent employee runs significant risks in terms of the employee being able to claim backdated entitlements (annual leave, notice, redundancy, etc). Read the full article here.

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