A Queensland mineworker who was incorrectly classified as a long-term casual has been granted the right to be paid his accrued annual leave entitlements by the Federal Court. This sends a clear message to employers that they must change the entrenched practice of pushing workers into insecure casual employment when they are doing permanent jobs.
The precedent set by the WorkPac v Skene decision in August to pay annual leave entitlements could impact millions of Australian workers who have for too long been incorrectly defined and treated as casual.
WorkPac’s reported decision not to appeal the decision to the High Court comes at the same time as big business is said to be urging the Morrison Government to intervene and deny permanent secure jobs to workers who would benefit from the Court’s decision.
Figures from the Australian Industry Group released today suggest that a majority of Australia’s 2.2 million casual workers are employed in regular and on-going work.
Rather than complaining about the decision, employers should accept they have been doing the wrong thing and provide workers permanency, with appropriate pay and entitlements, when roles are on-going.
The Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison Government has overseen an explosion in insecure work and now needs to step back from big business attempts to overturn this important win for working people through political intervention.
Quotes attributable to ACTU President Michele O’Neil:
“This decision is a major win for workers across Australia who have missed out on their annual leave entitlements because employers have been able to avoid their obligations by wrongly describing them as casuals.
“It is clear that employers trying to avoid paying entitlements to their staff can no longer do this by simply classifying them as casuals.
“This goes right to the core of challenging the flawed business model that promotes insecure work with few rights for working people.
“For too long employers have tried to cut corners by hiring people on casual contracts so that they can deny them their proper leave entitlements.”