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Millions of “casual” employees could now be entitled to back pay following a landmark court ruling by the Federal Court of Australia.

In its decision handed down Wednesday 20 May 2020, the court ruled that employees who had regular rostered shifts are not “casual” employees, even if that is how they are described in their employment contracts.

The ruling means that “casual” employees with regular rostered shifts may now be entitled to paid annual leave, paid personal/carer’s leave and paid compassionate leave. On top of the 20 to 25 per cent loading they already recieve in lieu of permanent employee entitlements.

Business groups argue that this will result in double-dipping.

Business groups estimate the decision could expose employers to back pay claims worth $8billion. With employers in retail and hospitality, who are already struggling with the coronavirus crisis, the most likely to be impacted.

The decision has spurred calls for urgent government intervention to change the Fair Work Act to prevent companies being hit with “double dipping” claims.