The National Retail Association (NRA) has voiced its concern that the recent WorkPac judgement regarding casual employees and their entitlements could financially cripple industries beyond the mining sector.
The Federal Court recently ruled that a casual truck driver employed by WorkPac was entitled to backpay for entitlements such as annual leave, because they had worked regular shifts for a prolonged period.
NRA Deputy CEO Lindsay Carroll said that the NRA is concerned that the judgement could affect other industries, including retail, with potentially devastating consequences.
“The NRA is concerned that the recent WorkPac decision by the Federal Court has the potential to open a can of worms that could affect industries other than mining,” Ms Carroll said.
“Allowing casual employees to ‘double dip’ – whereby they receive higher wages while also accessing entitlements such as annual leave – has the potential to financially cripple many small businesses across several sectors.
“This is particularly true of some areas of the retail sector, such as fast food, which rely heavily oncasual workers in periods of high customer demand.
“Should the WorkPac precedent be extended to other industries, it would result in many mum-and- dad small businesses going down the plughole, along with thousands of jobs.”
Ms Carroll echoed calls for the Federal Government to introduce legislation that closes the loophole on the double-dipping of employee entitlements.
“The NRA urges the Federal Minister Kelly O’Dwyer to put forward legislation that will guarantee that other industries aren’t affected by double-dipping in the way mining has,” Ms Carroll said.
“We also call on Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to back Australia’s small business community and help put an end to unacceptable double-dipping.
“And finally, we urge the union movement to understand that this double-dipping threatens the livelihoods of small businesses who employ their members across numerous sectors throughout the country.”