On 26 November 2020, the High Court granted special leave to appeal the WorkPac v Rossato decision. It has been said the appeal will be one of the most important employment law decisions that the High Court has had to consider.
The Rossato decision held that casual employees who worked regular and predictable shifts were owed permanent employee entitlements such as annual leave, and their 25% casual loading could not offset this liability. The decision overturned decades of common understanding about casual employment and was a huge victory for unions. It means that casuals can “double-dip” and receive higher hourly pay rates as well as entitlements reserved for permanent employees.
The Attorney-General has said that at a time where businesses are facing their greatest ever challenge as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the decision has caused confusion and uncertainty for employers and their employees, and could place a back-pay burden on business of up to $39 billion.
The appeal will be heard in 2021, however a decision may not be handed down until late in the year.
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