Casual Employment Ruling – Impact on Farming Community

 

The federal court has recently ruled that WorkPac must backpay a casual employee, Mr Rossato, for paid annual leave, personal leave, compassionate leave, and public holiday payments, which he claims he was owed as a permanent employee. Mr Rossato claimed he was entitled to these benefits because he had been a permanent employee, although engaged as a casual, working regular systematic hours.

This decision establishes a precedent that regular, long term casual employees can claim they are permanent employees are therefore owed permanent employee entitlements. The impact of this decision is significant, particularly for farmers. The risk of casual conversion is a substantial cost to employers, particularly for farms that rely on casually employed seasonal workers. To manage this risk, we recommend the farming community take the following actions:

  • Review the written employment contracts of casual employees and issue written contracts if they do not have one.
  • Review the working arrangements of your casual workers. If their work has become regular and systematic consider converting them to permanent (full-time or part-time status) to reduce potential risk.
  • Check if the awards that cover your business have a ‘Right to request Casual Conversion’ clause and, if they do, make sure you comply with its requirements.
  • Pay attention to how casual employees are rostered, if they work set hours with a degree of certainty about them it is unlikely to be ‘casual’ work.
  • Assess the need for long term casual employees in your business as their costs can be more expensive than the costs of permanent employees.

For more information about casual employees or assistance with employment contracts contact ProcessWorx on (08) 9316 9896 or enquiries@processworx.com.au.

Written by Danielle McNamee

 

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Marisa Ross

HR Advisor

Marisa is an experienced and motivated HR professional with a strong HR generalist and business operations background with a focus on employee relations, performance management, leadership training & development, workers compensation & injury management, and employee retention. Marisa holds a Bachelor of Human Resource Management and a Bachelor of Behavioural Science with a minor in Counselling. Having worked in a variety of industries from SMEs to large blue-chip organisations, Marisa is passionate about enriching employee experience, employee retention, and building leadership capability in people management.

Aimee Grigson

Aimee Grigson

WHS Advisor

Aimee has a strong understanding of Workplace Health and Safety Legislation and standards and has extensive HSEQ experience in a number of industries. Aimee has a great ability to engage across all levels of organisation, including field teams, leadership and external stakeholders. Aimee ensures Health and Safety Management Systems are compliant to legislation, effectively implemented and understood by all. Aimee has a Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety and qualifications in auditing and incident investigations. Aimee is passionate about coaching and developing small businesses towards a positive safety culture.