Permanent vs Casual Employees and Independent Contractors

In 2020, Carbone Lawyers launched its brand new podcast “The Law Lab”.

The current Stage 4 restrictions in force in Victoria have placed the production of further episodes on hold, however, in a new series of articles we will round up some of the highlights from our first 10 episodes.

In our first article from The Law Lab archives, we look at episode 8, which produced a crucial discussion on Workers Rights.

If you work as a casual employee or an independent contractor but you have a regular schedule like a permanent employee, then essential precedents in the Federal Court mean you might be treated like a permanent employee.

With the ongoing Coronavirus lockdown and the rising unemployment rate, the lines between casual employees and independent contractors, and permanent employees, may become more blurred than ever.

In Episode 8 of the Law Lab, Managing Partner Tony Carbone, Head of People & Culture Elio Mirabella and Associate Marin Karlos discussed the WorkPac v Skene decisions of 2016 and 2018 and the more recent case of WorkPac v Rossato,and the implications they have on the employer/employee relationship.

The underlying lesson from the decisions was that the Court would rule in favour of the worker if their engagement with the employer resembles that of permanent employment, irrespective of the label put on the employee by the employer.

“So the courts have always said, look, we don’t [only] look at the contract. We prefer substance over form. So we do look at the whole relationship in total,” Mr Karlos said.

Mr Carbone has exceptional experience in this field.

“It’s a very interesting thing. With a lot of the people I’ve seen over the years, I’d say a lot of them, even though they’re classified as contractors/casuals, I would argue, and have in many instances argued that they’re permanent employees,” he said.

“In very few cases have we not succeeded in proving that.”

In doing so, Carbone Lawyers has helped many individuals who are employed on a casual basis and independent contractors access things such as workers’ compensation, superannuation and annual leave by proving that their employment status is in fact equal to that of a permanent employee.

Listen to the episode in full below and get in touch with Carbone Lawyers today if you believe that you are entitled to workers’ compensation, superannuation and annual leave or other entitlements that are usually only available to permanent employees.

This article is general information only. It is not legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact us.

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