High Court Overturns Rossato Ruling

4 August 2021

The High Court has today overturned the Federal Court ruling that an employee was entitled to paid leave while engaged as a casual on a series of consecutive contracts (see previous alert).

In the 47-page judgment, the High Court defined a casual employee as one who has “no firm advance commitment” from their employer, and confirmed the importance of what is contractually agreed between employer and employee. In this case, even though Mr Rossato worked consecutive contracts for Workpac, the terms of the contracts “did not include a mutual commitment to an ongoing working relationship between them after the completion of each assignment.” Workpac employed Mr Rossato on an “assignment-by-assignment basis” and was under no obligation to continue offering assignments.

The High Court held that Mr Rossato was a casual employee for the purpose of the Fair Work Act 2009 and Workpac’s enterprise agreement, and therefore was not entitled to paid leave entitlements.

EMA Legal can assist with any advice or queries as to the impact of this decision on any specific arrangements.

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