Mondelez wins High Court appeal on worker leave entitlements

Mondelez has won its High Court appeal over worker leave entitlements.

The Mondelez v AMWU (Australian Manufacturing Workers Union) case related to the accrual of personal leave hours for shift workers and whether employees who worked 12 hour shifts should have their entitlements calculated on a different scale to the standard 7.6 notional hours of a ‘standard’ work day.  

Last year the Full Court of the Federal Court ruled in favour of the AMWU, ruling that both full time and part time employees should receive 10 days of personal leave per year and deeming. And that for the purposed of calculating leave, the day was considered the amount of time worked in a 24 hour period, not the set 7.6 hours.

Late last year the High Court granted special leave for both the federal government and the company to appeal the decision.

Today the High Court overturned the Federal Court’s decision, a move welcomed by the National Retail Association (NRA).

NRA CEO Dominique Lamb said the decision was a ‘win for common sense’ and continued the industry practice, which had been in place for 30 years.

“Last year’s decision by the Federal Court that both full-time and part-time employees receive 10 days of personal leave each year would have reversed long held industry practice and seen retailers foot the bill at a time when they’re struggling to survive,” Ms Lamb said.

“Under the Federal Court’s ruling, the amount of personal leave owing to an employee become something wholly unpredictable, as the employer would not know how much personal leave the employee had until they actually took it. This not only offered up a payroll nightmare, but also problems for complying with ASIC reporting requirements.”

“Thankfully the High Court overturned this decision, confirming that struggling businesses may continue to administer personal leave the same way they have done for the last ten years.”

However the AMWU said they were disappointed by the decision and Tasmania State Secretary John Short said it was a blow to shift workers.

“Cadbury workers do 12-hour days making the chocolate that we know and love. This decision means that they will get fewer days of personal leave per year than someone doing an office job working 9 to 5”, Mr Short said.

“While we are very disappointed in the outcome, we are very proud of our members and delegates who have taken up the fight at every stage. It’s not easy for a food worker to stand up in Court against a big company like Cadbury-Mondelez that has got the backing of the Federal Government, but our members held their ground every step of the way”, Mr Short said.

Mr Short said the union would now call on the Federal Government to amend the Fair Work Act to ensure all workers were given access to 10 days of paid personal leave.

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