Cadbury Sick Leave win is welcome but doesn’t immediately flow on to Qld Government workers

Posted on August 22, 2019

The AMWU had a great win in the Federal Court yesterday with the decision that 12 hour shift workers under the Fair Work Act were entitled to 10 days (shifts) sick leave under the National Employment Standards (NES).

The decision yesterday by the Federal Court found that the wording of the NES requires that workers receive 10 days of paid personal leave annually. This follows a similar decision in the Fair Work Commission between the Australian Workers Union (AWU) and pharmaceuticals company AstraZeneca last year.

The Federal Liberal National Coalition Government intervened in the case and made submissions in support of the employer that the 10 days should only equate to 76 hours.

While this is a great development there is no direct flow on to Correctional Officers and other Queensland Government shift workers.

This is because the wording of the NES under the federal Fair Work Act and the Queensland Employment Standards (QES) under the state Industrial Relations Act is different.

The Federal NES provides:

However, while under the Queensland legislation that applies to state government employees including Corrections Officers the QES also provides:

It also defines a ‘day’ specifically in a way the Federal Legislation doesn’t, it provides:

The highlighted provision means a day under the QES is 7.6 hours, not 12hrs for CCOs.

Last year's AstraZeneca decision was discussed during the collective agreement negotiations and the claim for 10 full days sick leave remains a claim to be decided in arbitration. However, for the Cadbury decision to apply to state government employees it will require the legislation to be changed to mirror the Fair Work Act. We have written to the Minister for Industrial Relations today asking for that change to be made. You can see a copy of that letter here.

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