The High Court has granted Mondelēz International and the federal government special leave to appeal a controversial ruling on the calculation of personal/carer’s leave entitlements for employees working “non-standard” shifts.
The case relates to the meaning of the expression ’10 days of paid personal/carer’s leave’ in section 96 of the Fair Work Act.
In August this year, the Full Court of the Federal Court handed down a split decision on the meaning of that expression.
In a 2-1 majority judgment, it found that the National Employment Standards required all employees to be provided with enough personal leave to allow them to take 10 working days of personal/carer’s leave per year, irrespective of how many hours they work each day.
The case relates to 12-hour shift workers at the Mondelēz International plant in Claremont, Tasmania where Cadbury chocolate is manufactured.
The appeal will be heard next year and the outcome will be “extremely important for industry,” Australian Industry Group chief executive, Innes Willox, said.
Ai Group estimated the Federal Court’s decision, if it stands, would impose more than $2 billion a year of additional costs on employers. It said the decision would also impose a major barrier to employers agreeing to part-time employment arrangements, including for employees returning from parental leave.
The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union said it was disappointed by the High Court decision to grant special leave to appeal.