Federal government intervention on casual employment

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia says it welcomed the federal government’s intervention in a legal case to provide certainty that small businesses will not be potentially liable for unsustainable back pay claims that would effectively result in them paying twice for annual leave and other entitlements.

“A recent Federal Court decision (WorkPac v Skene) has cast doubt on the future employment of casual employees (e.g. university students, school students, other casual staff) and exposed employers to what potentially could be large back pay claims,” Guild’s Executive Director, David Quilty, said today.

“Pharmacies and other small business owners who have employed casual employees in good faith could be susceptible to back pay claims, having already paid for leave once through a casual loading, and then potentially through possible claims after employees leave their jobs.

“For many years, the Guild has actively encouraged and supported its community pharmacy employer members to ensure they are compliant with the Pharmacy Industry Award when it comes to the employment of casual employees.

“Small businesses like pharmacies already have to deal with and keep abreast of highly complex workplace relations rules and regulations, which can have the unintended consequence of discouraging employment and unnecessarily increasing the levels of business risk.

“This decision has muddied the water even further. We support the Federal Government’s intervention in this case to provide clarity and certainty for employers and for employees who wish to be employed as casuals.” Mr Quilty said.


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