FWC Bench Rule ‘contiguous’ periods of work are not to be counted as ‘continuous’ work

In a recent court case (Unilever Australia Trading Limited v AMWU [2018] FWCFB 4463) the Fair Work Commission decided that casual service is not to be considered when calculating redundancy entitlements. This decision was made in regards to the enterprise agreement applicable to Unilever, however the decision clarified some of the grey areas surrounding redundancy pay calculations.   

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In a previous case (AMWU v Donau Pty Ltd [2016] FWCFB 3075) the majority ruled that a period of ‘contiguous’ casual service counted as service in the calculation for redundancy pay (under the given enterprise agreement in the case). The decision was controversial when announced as employers may have to consider casual employment when calculating redundancy pay. One of the objections to this was that casual employees are already paid a 25% loading which is compensation for the entitlements given to permanent employees.

With this new development, there is more clarity over that fact that casual employment is not included in the redundancy calculations in most cases. However, it is essential that employers refer to the specific enterprise agreements applicable to their workers to determine the best course of action.

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This article was written with reference to other articles on the matter. Click here and here to view our sources.

Alicja Gibert