Tim Entwistle, retail worker.
Tim Entwistle, retail worker.

Toowoomba CBD worker: Casuals should get annual leave

A TOOWOOMBA retail employee has praised a court decision ruling certain casual workers were entitled to benefits like annual and sick leave, calling it a big win.

Tim Entwistle's eight-year span in the retail sector has included four years as a casual worker, before he was bumped up to part-time permanent.

Mr Entwistle said the Federal Court ruling last week, which argued ongoing casual workers who had regular and scheduled hours should be treated as permanent employees, was a victory for many in the retail and hospitality sector.

But he wanted to see more clarity on its full implications.

"My first job was in a supermarket in a retail space, and in a casual capacity, (but) I was getting regular hours, working seven days a week and I would never get the benefits," Mr Entwistle said.

"I really do welcome the ruling, because it says if you're working like a part-timer, you should be treated like one.

"I'd like to see the ruling made more clear to make sure both sides are receiving the treatment they deserve."

The court decision has sent shockwaves through the Australian business sector, with many lobby groups arguing it could affect a million workers and cost employers up to $8 billion in back pay.

Mr Entwistle said there needed to be a balanced approach, arguing that irregular casual work without benefits was very useful to many young people.

But he said he was concerned by how over-casualised the Australian workforce had become.

"I'd say that casual work has its place, because there are so many high school workers who use it as a first job," Mr Entwistle said.

"If you are somebody who has consistently worked in a place for many years, you have every right to ask for benefits.

"There is the issue of the over-casualisation of the workforce - even taking a holiday is a big problem for many workers.

"My only concern (with the ruling) is the idea of backdating the pay - I don't think that's fair, it should be from this point forward."

The Federal Government is now assessing the case, with Attorney-General Christian Porter saying it might support a High Court appeal.

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