Casual v Permanent Employees? An Important New Court Case

Chris Barton, Employment Lawyer for Ash St. weighs in on the recent decision handed down by the Full Federal Court in Workpac v Rossato. Please see his thoughts below as he outlines the significance of this case for Employers and Employees.


Recent media attention was given to a decision of the Full Federal Court in Workpac v Rossato in which the Court held that an employee engaged as a casual employee was entitled to the same benefits and entitlements as a permanent full time employee.

The decision turned on the evidence that the employee was employed on a regular and systematic basis and there was a firm advance commitment to continue to engage him. It does not change the test for determining whether an employee is engaged as a casual employee.

Significance of the recent decision for employers
The significance of this important decision is a reminder to employers that it is the substance and not the form of a work relationship that will determine the rights and obligations of the parties. The description that the parties choose to give to the relationship is relevant but not conclusive.

What should an employer do?
It is essential that the description of the relationship accurately reflects the actual work arrangements between the parties in practice. In that way, you will avoid incurring unintended liabilities and the inadvertent underpayment of statutory benefits and entitlements. This is particularly important when you are seeking to employ an employee on a casual basis or to engage someone as an independent contractor.

Work arrangements that are in place should also be continuously reviewed to ensure that they conform to the original agreement between the parties.

We are here to help you
We can assist you if you have any questions about how the recent decision of the Full Federal Court in
Workpac v Rossato may impact on the work arrangements in your own organisation or more generally in relation to how you are employing or engaging your workforce.

Chris Barton
M: + 61 414 245 528


Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash