The Australian Hotels Association (AHA) has welcomed this week’s High Court ruling which reinstates the traditional interpretation of casual employment.
AHA CEO Stephen Ferguson said the decision in the WorkPac vs Rossato case delivers much-needed certainty for hoteliers, adding that with the setting aside of the Federal Court’s previous ruling, employers were no longer facing tens of billions of dollars in unexpected wage costs.
“We commend the Federal Government for the proactive measures they put in place in the event the Federal Court’s decision was upheld,” Ferguson said.
“Importantly, the High Court’s decision provides employers with confidence at a time when they desperately need certainty.”
“The previous Federal Court ruling, if upheld, would have delivered a staggering blow to employers and would have acted as a disincentive to hire new workers.”
“As we continue to navigate the ongoing impact of COVID-19, the last thing employers needed was to have such a significant and costly upheaval of our industrial relations system.”
“This is great news for Australian employers and employees, as it confirms the traditional understanding of casual employment in Australia, where employees receive a higher rate of pay in lieu of leave entitlements.”
The High Court unanimously agreed to uphold WorkPac’s appeal, ruling that Mr Rossato has been correctly employed as a casual worker. This overturned the Federal Court ruling that after he was given regular and ongoing shifts Rossato should have been classified as a permanent worker, qualifying him for annual leave and sick pay.
There were claims the Federal Court’s ruling would leave businesses facing up to $39bn in claims as well as opening up the ability for employees to ‘double-dip’ by being paid 25 per cent leave loadings for casuals and also claiming permanent worker benefits.