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Ai Group Industry Newsletter

Wednesday, 8 February 2017
  3 February 2017
Common sense restored to enterprise agreement making
  8 February 2017
ABCC changes require constructive role from unions




  8 February 2017
What are the top recruitment trends for 2017?
  8 February 2017
Save the date for construction's big night out!




  7 February 2017
Slow start for construction in 2017
  3 February 2017
Positive start to the year for services sector




A not so casual dispute about leave loading

A dispute regarding the calculation of overtime entitlements for casual employees at a Power Station underlines the importance of carefully considering the wording of enterprise agreements – and the implications of relevant underlying Awards. The employer and a union clashed on the issue of whether 25% casual loading should be included in the "ordinary time rate of pay" used to calculate the double-time rate for overtime. An element of ambiguity around the wording of the enterprise agreement allowed the union and the employer to apply different interpretations to this point, with arguments including the intent of casual loading: the employer contended loading is specifically applied in lieu of various entitlements available to permanent employees, which are only accrued during ordinary time hours. The union, meanwhile, believed a plain reading of the agreement would suggest a casual's loading would be included in the ordinary rate of pay applied to overtime calculations. Further, the union pointed to the Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award 2010, which states 25% casual loading constitutes a casual employee's "all-purpose rate". It contended that the enterprise agreement should "refer specifically to the exclusion of the casual loading" if the Award's conditions were not to apply. As a Power Station, however, the employer preferred the Electrical Power Industry Award 2010, which suggests “a casual employee is not entitled to the casual loading for the time worked and paid as overtime” – an approach the employer also said had been a “common understanding” in previous agreements. With this in mind, the Fair Work Commission ruled in the employer's favour.

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