Success and clarity for labour hire companies across Australia: casual workers are just that, casual.

Date: August 6, 2021


It is a question which has challenged and confused Australian employers, particularly labour hire companies, in recent years.

While it has been a long time coming, employers now have clarity that casual workers are just that, casual. They are not required to be paid leave entitlements – leave entitlements are reserved for permanent employees.

This follows a landmark decision handed down by the High Court of Australia on 4 August 2021.


WorkPac, a labour hire company, employed Mr Rossato under a series of six employment contracts/assignments.  He was treated by WorkPac as a casual employee.

Relying on the earlier decision of WorkPac Pty Ltd v Skene [2018] FCAFC 131, which held that Skene was not a casual employee under s 86 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (the Act), Mr Rossato argued that he was entitled to be paid for untaken annual leave, public holidays and periods of personal leave and compassionate leave, in accordance with the WorkPac Pty Ltd Mining (Coal) Industry Enterprise Agreement 2012.

WorkPac denied these claims, arguing he had been paid at a rate which incorporated 25% casual loading in lieu of these entitlements.

The Full Court of the Federal Court held that Mr Rossato was not a casual employee, and made declarations that Mr Rossato was entitled to the payments claimed.

WorkPac appealed the decision. The case went to the High Court of Australia.


The High Court’s Decision:

The High Court of Australia overturned the Full Court’s decision and found Mr Rossato was in fact a casual employee and was not entitled to annual leave or public holiday pay.

The High Court commented that Mr Rossato was employed pursuant to a series of six contracts/ assignments by WorkPac, specifying he was a casual employee and, although his shifts were provided to him a year in advance, that did not mean he was guaranteed ongoing employment.

The High Court’s reasoning was:


For more information please contact:


Courtney Steele, Partner

Jacob Stekhoven, Solicitor

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