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Union disappointed in High Court sick leave decision

The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) is disappointed by today’s High Court decision in the matter of Cadbury-Mondelez vs AMWU. The High Court decision means that Australian shift workers are entitled to less than ten days personal leave each year.

“While we respect the decision of the High Court, this is a obviously a very disappointing outcome for us and for the delegates, Natasha and Brendon, who have been fighting for their personal leave entitlements through the courts for years now”, said AMWU Tasmania State Secretary John Short.

The High Court’s decision comes after the Full Court of the Federal Court ruled that for the purposes of calculating personal leave entitlements, a day was “the period of time in a 24-hour period that would otherwise be allocated to work” in August last year. The decision has implications for workers working ordinary days of more than the standard 7.6 hours.

“Cadbury workers do 12-hour days making the chocolate that we know and love. This decision means that they will get fewer days of personal leave per year than someone doing an office job working 9 to 5”, Mr Short said.

“While we are very disappointed in the outcome, we are very proud of our members and delegates who have taken up the fight at every stage. It’s not easy for a food worker to stand up in Court against a big company like Cadbury-Mondelez that has got the backing of the Federal Government, but our members held their ground every step of the way”, Mr Short said.

The Federal Government intervened at every level in support of Cadbury-Mondelez – at the Fair Work Commission, at the Federal Court, and at the High Court.

“We are now calling for the Federal Government to amend the Fair Work Act so that every worker has access to ten days of paid personal leave every year, no matter what hours they work”, Mr Short said.

“COVID-19 has shown the importance of personal leave. The Government must change the law immediately to ensure that no matter whether you work 7.6 hours a day or 12 hours a day, you’ve got access to ten days of personal leave per year”, Mr Short said.

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