Federal Court ruling could be bittersweet

Published September 17, 2019 (last updated July 20, 2020) Author: Leigh Johnston
court-gavel

The Federal Government and Mondelez, the manufacturer of popular confectionery brand Cadbury, have sought leave to appeal Federal Court decision that impacts the way personal leave is calculated.

According to reports in the Australian Financial Review, Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter said the government will appeal the full court decision, citing the “confusion and uncertainty” it had caused.

The news comes after the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) had successfully argued in Federal Court that two employees who worked 12 hours shifts should be paid  12 hours of personal leave per day, instead of the standard 7.6 hours.

Related: Court ruling a sweet win for shift workers

Employer groups argue the decision could cost employers up to $2 billion per year, while Mr Porter said the situation would create inequality between employees.

In a statement released by Ai Group, Chief Executive Innes Willox welcomed the move to overturn the decision.

“Ai Group estimates that the Federal Court’s decision, if it stands, would impose more than $2 billion a year of additional costs on employers. The decision is inconsistent with widespread industry practice and it is essential that the decision is reviewed by the High Court.

“In addition to the cost impacts, the decision would impose a major barrier to employers agreeing to part-time employment arrangements, including for employees returning from parental leave. On the Federal Court’s interpretation, a part-time employee who works one day a week would be entitled to the equivalent of 10 weeks of personal/carer’s leave a year.”

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