A recent decision of Broadlex Services Pty Ltd v United Workers’ Union  FCA 867 in the Federal Court of Australia has affirmed that an employee who has their job title change from full time to part time without voluntary acceptance by the employee is likely be entitled to a redundancy payment and notice.
Ms Vrtkovski (‘the Employee’) was initially employed by Broadlex Services Pty Ltd (‘the Employer’) as a full time cleaner at an Energy Australia/Ausgrid site in Wallsend, a suburb of Newcastle on 1 May 2014.
In July 2017, the Employer negotiated a new contract with Ausgrid which provided that the cleaning hours to be provided were reduced.
As a result, the Employer informed the Employee that “due to consideration of work flow an operational requirement has been identified to reduce [her] status from full time to part time” and that her work hours would alter on and from 12 September 2017.
This resulted in the Employee’s working hours being reduced from 38 hours a week to 20 hours a week reducing the Employee’s salary by 40% to $16,790.80.
The Employer invited the Employee to sign a consent to change her full-time employment to part time, but the Employee refused. The Employee begun reduced hours on 12 September 2017 because she felt she had no choice to do so.
Appeal to Federal Circuit Court
The Federal Circuit Court rejected that the employment relationship survived the termination of the employment contract.
The full-time contract came to an end when the part time conversion document was offered by the Employer but not accepted by the Employee.
For employees, this means that their employer cannot change their status from full time to part time without their written consent – and if they do make such a change unilaterally, then the employee is likely to be entitled to redundancy pay, the payment of their other entitlements, as well as notice.
What should you do next?
You should not voluntarily agree to a change of your employment status without first seeking advice from us!