Casual Workers: Rights and obligations of the employment relationship

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Casual Workers: Clearly defined rights and obligations of the employment relationship

If you are a casual worker or employer who requires casual staff, you may be aware of the Federal Court of Australia’s determination that casual employees may be able to claim the same or similar entitlements as permanent employees.

This claim is based on last year’s determination of Workpac Pty Ltd v Rossato where the Federal Court of Australia ruled that certain casual employees, in particular those who are long-term casual employees with expectations of continuing regular work, could claim permanent employee entitlements.

However, in the recent appeal the High Court of Australia discarded the Federal Court of Australia’s ruling and found that factors such as continued and regular work was not enough cause to award permanent employment.

In the Federal Court of Australia’s ruling it was determined that the entire employment relationship should be considered when establishing permanent employment with casual employees, however, the High Court of Australia’s decision found that there are only two factors that need to be considered, being a definite commitment to permanent work and a binding written employment contract.

As a result of the above rulings, the definition of ‘casual employee’ has changed. For more information on the definition of a casual employee click here. Employers who have already faced claims under the Federal Court of Australia’s ruling may be able to rely on the statutory offsetting rule to reduce the amount payable.

If you are uncertain of your employment relationship or would like assistance instituting an Employment Contract, do not hesitate to contact our friendly team on 02 6542 5566.

*Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation. This article is intended to provide general information. You should obtain professional advice before you undertake any course of action.

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