This time last year, the Full Federal Court shook the employment world by finding that a pair of Cadbury chocolate factory workers were entitled to 120 hours of personal leave per year (see here). After 12 months of confusion, the High Court has set the record straight on how personal/carer's leave should be calculated.
Historically, a "day" has been interpreted as a "notional day" based on an employee's ordinary hours per week. For full time employees that means 76 hours (10 notional days) personal/carer's leave per year based on a 38-hour working week.
The Full Federal Court sided with the Cadbury employees and their union by deciding that "day" means an actual day, being the 24-hour period, and employees should get off any hours of work that may fall within it.
Mondelez appealed and now, 12 months on, the High Court made it clear that it wasn't buying into the "working day" approach favoured by the Full Federal Court, saying that it would "give rise to absurd results and inequitable outcomes, and would be contrary to the legislative purposes of fairness and flexibility in the Fair Work Act".
The High Court confirmed that a "day" refers to a "notional day" having regard to an employee's ordinary hours of work. In other words, personal/sick leave should be calculated as it always has.
A big sigh of relief for employers (particularly Mondelez).
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