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High Court rules against more paid sick leave for shift workers

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The High Court has over turned an earlier Federal Court Decision regarding the personal leave of shift workers at Tasmania’s Cadbury Factory.

The Court has decided that personal leave for shift workers should be calculated based on a ‘notional day’, being a tenth of the employees normal working hours over a two week roster. The employees and union were claiming that they should be entitled to 10 days calculated at 12 hours  each over the year, rather than 7.6 hours.
 
The decision of the court, rejecting the arguments of the union and the employees, was based on the inequality this would give rise to, for example if another worker was working 8 hour shifts, they would receive substantially fewer hours of personal leave over a year, as employees within the same organisation do not always work the same shift cycle.
 
The impact of this decision is that employers will need to carefully consider how they are calculating the personal leave of their employees, particularly those that work non-standard hours, to ensure they are consistent with their obligations.

If you need assistance reviewing your employees entitlements, please contact our Workplace Law Team.

*Photo credit: The Weekly Times.