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Important Federal Court case to clarify the meaning of the personal/carer's leave provisions of the Fair Work Act

"An important case is before the Federal Court relating to the meaning of the phrase “10 days of paid personal/carer’s leave” in section 96 of the Fair Work Act.

"In payroll systems, personal/carer's leave entitlements are typically recorded in hours, not days, on the basis of the number of ordinary hours that an employee works. For example, employees who work 38 hours per week are typically credited with 76 hours of paid personal/carer's leave per year, regardless of whether their ordinary hours are arranged on the basis of 7.6, 8, 10 or 12 hours per day," Australian Industry Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox, said today.

"The case brought before the Federal Court specifically relates to 12-hour shift workers at the Mondelēz International plant in Claremont, Tasmania, but has implications for most employers in Australia.

"The current enterprise agreement agreed to by Mondelēz International, applies to employees at the Claremont Plant and states that they are entitled to 96 hours of personal/carer's leave per year. This is a lot more generous that the 76 hours employees are entitled to under the Fair Work Act, if the Act is interpreted in the manner in which Ai Group and Mondelēz contends," Mr Willox explained.

"An application has been made by Mondelēz for the case to be dealt with by the Full Court of the Federal Court.

"The Minister for Small and Family Business, the Workplace and Deregulation, the Hon Craig Laundy MP, has intervened in the proceedings on behalf of the Commonwealth.

"A hearing has been scheduled for 6 September before Justice O’Callaghan of the Federal Court to hear arguments about the referral to the Full Court," Mr Willox said.

Background details about the case

  • Case Number and Name: VID 731/2018 – Mondelēz Australia Pty Ltd v Australian Manufacturing Worker Union and Others.
  • Originating Application filed on 18 June 2018 by Ai Group Workplace Lawyers on behalf of Mondelēz.
  • Interlocutory Application to have the matter dealt with by the Full Federal Court filed on 19 June 2018 by Ai Group Workplace Lawyers on behalf of Mondelēz.
  • The Mondelez v AMWU case is an application for a declaration under s.21 of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 in relation to a matter arising under the Fair Work Act.
  • The applicant is Mondelēz. Mondelēz is represented by Ai Group Workplace Lawyers and Stuart Wood QC and Dimitri Ternovki of Counsel.
  • The Australian Workers Union is currently endeavouring to portray a recent decision of Deputy President Dean of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) in AWU v AstraZeneca Pty Ltd [2018] FWC 4660 as particularly significant. This is a decision of an individual Member of the FWC relating to a dispute that arose about one company's enterprise agreement. The decision is not particularly significant.

Media enquiries: Tony Melville – 0419 190 347