Australia: Surprise Ruling Strengthens Employers’ Say in Casual Worker Classifications

A recent high court decision has overturned a previous federal court ruling that determined flexible workers on regular and predictable shifts were, in fact, employees and not casual workers. The new decision holds that those contractors should be classified as casual employees and, therefore, are not provided with leave entitlements.

The new ruling has caused controversy. Those in favor of the decision commend the court for effectively putting an end to a legislative campaign fighting to stop casual workers who are paid a 25% casual loading in place of paid leave from later seeking back-paid leave entitlements. Those opposed to the ruling believe this decision has lasting, negative implications for employment law and an inequality of bargaining power, and they cite conflicts with the protective intention of the Fair Work Act.

The Fair Work Amendment, introduced in March of 2021, updated the definition of a casual employee to include workers who have received an offer of employment on the basis that their employer makes no firm advance commitment to continuing and indefinite work. The new ruling allows employers to resume casual worker status even if the worker received regular assignments on a continuous pattern of work.

Takeaway: While such a ruling may provide some clarity for employers in the near term, companies should maintain visibility into their casual worker population and identify those who are on recurring flexible work agreements and may be at risk of misclassification in the future.

North America

US: Department of Labor Announces Final Rule on Joint Employment Regulation

US: New York City Fair Chance Act Amendments in Effect

US: California’s Prop 22 Worker Classification Law Struck Down

Canada: Pay Equity Act Aims to Close Gender Gap in the Workforce


UK: Flexible Working Model Will Not Apply to Financial Services

UK: Umbrella Company Update: New Government Proposals Amid Calls for Total Ban

UK: Single Worker Status Proposed by Labour Party

EU: Whistleblower Protection Directive Laws Coming Late 2021


China: New Laws Protect the Rights of Flexible Workers

India: Companies Advised to Build Comprehensive Work-From-Home Policies

Singapore: Government Commits to Supporting Women’s Equality in the Workforce

This update contains general information only, and AGS is not rendering legal advice. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult qualified legal counsel. AGS shall not be responsible for any loss whatsoever sustained by any person or company who relies on this update.