Workpac v Rossato – Federal Court Case – Casual Employees

WorkPac v Rossato - Federal Court Case - Casual Employees.png

Workpac v Rossato – Federal Court Case – Casual Employees

Black Coal Mining is not a roadmap for other industries.

Casual Employment Update

The nature and definition of what is considered casual worker has recently come under the limelight following the recent case from Workpac v Rossato.  There is a lot of misleading information on this topic. Given the wide-reaching impact and consequences, we would like to take the opportunity to provide some clarification on our approach to casual work within our industry.

Why is there so much talk about Casual works right now?

There has recently been a court decision handed down on what the nature of casual should be defined as under the common law.  This decision comes from the latest case between WorkPac v Rossato.  The case outlined that Mr Rossato was, a permanent worker rather than a casual under his contract.  It is important to understand the background and why a decision was made to deem Mr Rossato permanent rather than casual.

  • Some of the contributing factors included:

  • He was provided with set rosters as a firm advanced commitment to work, up to seven months in advance.

  • His rosters were certain, regular, consistent and predictable throughout his four years with WorkPac.

  • underpinning Award that covered Mr Rossato was the Black Coal Mining Industry Award 2010, read in conjunction with the Enterprise Agreement.  There was no ability to engage Mr Rossato as a casual under the Award or the Agreement, which was inconsistent with his contract.

Award Coverage

The important factors in the Rossato case were the Award classification and industry.  The Black Coal Mining Industry Award 2010 only allows casual work for specific positions.  Mr Rossato’s position was not a role that allowed casual engagement.

We consider the Building and Construction General On-Site Award 2010 to be the applicable Award for our industry minimum legislative entitlements, and we ensure the hourly rates paid are above the Award.  This Award has no restrictions on casual engagement.

Regular, stable and consistent rosters

Another key deciding factor in the Rossato case was the information around how his rosters were issued.  Mr Rossato received consistent rosters seven months in advance that he would work.

Our industry does not have the stability in our construction short order project schedules, with on-site supervisors reviewing rosters weekly and scheduling workers based on the project requirements issued to us by our Clients.

Managers need to be transparent with their team members, including regular consultation in writing regarding fluctuating work patterns.

I am a long-term casual, what does that mean for me?

Some of our team members have been working with us for more than one year.  These team members are considered long term casuals; however, during their employment, rosters have regularly fluctuated and changed based on the project requirements from week to week.

A long-term casual is entitled to additional consultation entitlements regarding a significant change, termination of employment or after regular work.

Where to from here?

It’s important to understand that the government is currently reviewing the outcome from WorkPac v Rossato and that the decision will be appealed for further determinations by higher courts.  When a final determination is known, we will review our current teams to determine if any workers are affected by the outcome and consult on an approach to manage any changes if required.

Further questions?

If you have any further questions about your entitlements or seek to clarify any concerns, you may have, please don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss your queries.

For queries about casuals, casual conversation or other employment questions, please contact Dean Cameron at Workforce Advisory Lawyers – We Know Employment Law on 0417 622 178 or via email to dean.cameron@workforceadvisory.com.au.

Disclaimer: This information is provided as general advice on workplace relations and employment law. It does not constitute legal advice, and it is always advisable to seek further information regarding specific workplace issues. Liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

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