High Court preserves longstanding industry practice regarding personal/carer’s leave accruals
“Today, the High Court of Australia granted the appeals by Mondelēz International and the Australian Government against the problematic decision of the Federal Court in the Mondelez v AMWU case. The High Court has clarified the quantum of personal/carer’s leave entitlements for millions of Australian employees,” Innes Willox, Chief Executive of the national employer association, Ai Group, said today.
“The High Court’s judgment preserves widespread industry practice. If the Federal Court’s interpretation of the expression ‘10 days of paid personal/carer’s leave‘ in section 96 of the Fair Work Act had been upheld, there would have been major cost implications for a very large number of businesses. In addition, a major barrier would have been imposed on employers agreeing to part-time employment arrangements, including for employees returning from parental leave.
“The interpretation adopted by the High Court ensures that all employees are entitled to take up to two weeks off work each year for personal/carer’s leave regardless of how many ordinary hours an employee works in that two-week period. A full-time employee who works 38 ordinary hours per week is entitled to 76 hours of personal/carer’s leave per year and a part-time employee who works 20 hours per week is entitled to 40 hours of personal/carer’s leave per year. The Court’s judgment ensures equity amongst full-time and part-time employees, and amongst 8-hour and 12-hour shift workers.
“The case relates to 12-hour shift workers at the Mondelēz International plant in Claremont, Tasmania where Cadbury chocolate is manufactured.
“In the High Court and Federal Court proceedings, Mondelēz International was represented by Stuart Wood QC and Mr Dimitri Ternovki, instructed by Ai Group Workplace Lawyers,” Mr Willox said.