2020年5月20日，澳大利亚联邦法院全席法庭对WorkPac Pty Ltd v Rossato一案作出判决。 此案聚焦并围绕劳务派遣公司WorkPac Pty Ltd（以下简称 “WorkPac”）和Robert Rossato (以下简称“Rossato”)之间的雇佣关系进行展开。该公司派遣Rossato先生到Glencore公司名下两处位于昆士兰州的矿山工作。Rossato先生作为临时员工 （casual employee）工作的三年半期间，签订的是滚动合同（rolling contract）。作为一名临时员工，他在工资的基础上还获得了25%的额外报酬 - 这是为了弥补临时员工未能享有类似年假等福利的通常做法。 澳大利亚联邦法院全席法庭驳回 WorkPac 认为Rossato先生是临时员工的主张，判定他属于正式员工(permanent employee)。联邦法院基于以下理据，做出上述判决：Rossato先生的工作性质是 “定期(regular)、稳定(certain)、连续(continuing)、持续性(constant)” ，而且有事先被告知工作日程。 Rossato先生有资格享受根据《2009年公平工作法》(Fair Work Act 2009 Cth)和企业协议(Enterprise Agreement)中全国就业标准(National Employment Standards - NES)所规定正式员工应享有的福利，其中包括带薪年假，个人病假/照顾者假，丧病假及法定公共假日等。 这一判决对于雇佣临时员工的雇主，无论是通过直接雇用、外包劳务、转包等不同的雇佣途径，都是不能忽视的重要判决。对于该判决，联邦政府可能会采取干预措施或向最高法院提出上诉，但是在判决发生改变之前，雇主现在应该仔细审查与临时员工之间的雇佣安排，更新与临时员工的合同条款。雇主应重新考量与劳务派遣公司以及派遣员工之间的关系，特别需要注意以下三点: 雇主应该进行阶段性审查与临时员工的雇佣安排，并考虑与临时雇佣相比，兼职或固定期限等其他形式的雇佣关系是否更加合适。 如果临时雇佣关系仍然适用，雇主应该注意合同中是否单独列明临时员工会获得额外报酬，由于临时员工不享受全国就业标准（NES）以及正式员工的应享福利。我们建议雇主与临时员工签署一份声明，表明如果之后被认定为正式雇佣关系，雇主有权要求员工退还之前所获得的额外报酬。 我们建议雇主至少每年定期审查临时雇佣合同。以评估该合同下的雇佣关系是否会被认定为工作日程稳定并且持续的雇佣关系。 如果您认为WorkPac Pty Ltd v Rossato的判决结果，会对您公司现有员工的工作安排有所影响，或者在处理与员工之间的雇佣关系上需要专业的法律意见，请与我们联络。
Q: Some mid-career employees have been working for 10 years without a formal employment contract. I've had no problem without an employment contract, but should I still have an written employment contract? (Male in their 40s, HR department at Japanese company) A: Employment contracts do not necessarily have to be reduced in writing. Oral employment contracts have legal effect. Even if specific terms of employment contract have not been discussed, there is in principle an employment relationship if an employee actually works for an employer. It goes without saying that wages, working hours, annual Leave and superannuation, etc., must meet the minimum labour standards set by law, even if no detailed employment conditions are negotiated. However, labour standards set by law are complex. Employers may violate inadvertently minimum labour standards if they do not ensure that minimum employment standards are well covered in the employment contract. Fair Work Ombudsman may impose a fine in case of violation of the standards. Also, even if employees are employed under conditions that exceed the minimum labour standards, it is necessary to confirm and reduce in writing that both parties understand the details of the terms. When an annual salary is presented (as opposed to hourly wages), there could be a disagreement between the parties about what their wage cover. For example, an employer may understand that its salary includes reasonable overtime work, while an employee understood that overtime works are billable separately. In this case, the employer is legally required to notify the employee in writing that the overtime payment is included in the salary. Another common issue is that in the absence of a contract, an uncertainty arises whether a notice is required to terminate an employment contract. Generally, if an employment contract states that a notice of dismissal should be given before certain weeks (except for unfair and illegal dismissal), an employee must be informed of the termination before that period. However, in the absence of a written agreement, the notice of termination must be a reasonable period. The reasonable period is determined a case-by-case. If you hire a position that need creativity, you need to make sure who owns the intellectual property that arises as your employees perform their duties. In addition, it will be disadvantageous for employers if an employment contract fails to incorporate confidentiality obligations and non-competition obligations after termination. Especially for mid-career employees or employees in senior management positions, if above terms are not stipulated in their employment contract, it can lead to major legal issues later. However, it may be difficult to ask for sign an employment contract suddenly, it is recommended that written employment contract is presented to employees at their promotion.