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Fair Work Commission rules against Village Roadshow Theme Parks worker who opposed being forced to take leave

Fair Work Commission rules against Village Roadshow Theme Parks worker who opposed being forced to take leave
May 15, 2020

A landmark case has seen the Fair Work Commission rule against an employee who opposed Village Roadshow Theme Parks forcing her to take leave.

In an indication that workers are not happy with how their employers are using the JobKeeper provisions of the Fair Work Act, the case resulted from the refusal by a Village Roadshow Theme Parks worker to take one day's annual leave every week while she is on the JobKeeper subsidy.

In the first case of its type, the Fair Work Commission, which has indicated that it will turn cases of this type around quickly, has this week ruled against the employee.

The case resulted from Village Roadshow Theme Parks (VRTP) requesting that the employee, who had been issued with a JobKeeper enabling direction not to attend work, to take annual leave during the stand down period until her annual leave balance was reduced to two weeks.

The employee refused the request by providing an “annual leave justification” relying upon holidays plans she had made (but had not yet been approved by VRTP) and some personal circumstances including a previously undisclosed medical condition.

VRTP did not accept the “annual leave justification” stating it did not meet its guidelines to unreasonably refuse its request to take leave.

The employee applied to the Commission to resolve the dispute and in particular sought confirmation that she was not being unreasonable in refusing to agree to the employer’s request.

Ultimately, the Commission found that the employee’s refusal of the request by VRTP to take one day’s annual leave per week was unreasonable and she ordered the employee to “not continue to refuse the request made by VRTP”.

Between 9th April and 7th May 2020, 212 JobKeeper disputes have been lodged with the Commission.

Of these roughly 60% have been withdrawn and roughly 75% raised jurisdictional issues such as whether a casual employee is an ‘eligible employee’, whether the ‘one in all in’” principle and nomination of employees for JobKeeper payments and whether a dismissed employee can seek re-engagement to become an eligible employee.

In addition, according to a webinar presented by Commission President, Iain Ross on 7th May 2020, unfair dismissal claims increased by 60% in April compared to April last year and general protection cases involving dismissal increased more than 20%.

Click here for more information on this case at Keypoint Law.

Image: DC Super Heroes at Warner Bros. Movie World, courtesy of VRTP. Image used for illustrative purposes only.

Related Articles

15th May 2020 - Industry considers economics of post-Coronavirus reopening with limited numbers

12th May 2020 - Village Roadshow Chief Executive calls for JobKeeper extension as Queensland Government’s Coronavirus easing roadmap suggests reopening of theme parks, entertainment venues and stadiums in June

9th April 2020 - ATIC welcomes JobKeeper payment scheme

7th April 2020 - Fears tourism businesses may not be eligible for JobKeeper payments

6th April 2020 - Village Roadshow Theme Parks backs staff during lockdown

3rd April 2020 - Royal Life Saving welcomes JobKeeper payments as a ‘$700 million lifeline’ for aquatic facilities and swim schools

31st March 2020 - Australian Government launches $130 billion ‘JobKeeper’ wage subsidy

28th March 2020 - IAAPA reveals recommendations for closing and reopening theme parks impacted by COVID-19

24th March 2020 - Queensland Government says theme parks, indoor gyms, fitness centres and sports centres ‘must close’

23rd March 2020 - Gold Coast theme parks ‘temporarily close’ in reaction to Coronavirus crisis

21st March 2020 - One million jobs a day being lost due to Coronavirus pandemic

24th January 2020 - Private equity group BGH Capital submits rival bid for Village Roadshow

18th January 2020 - South east Queensland deluge closes Dreamworld, Movie World and Wet’n'Wild Gold Coast

13th January 2020 - Fair Work Ombudsman review leads Quayclean to adopt new business model

23rd December 2019 - Sea World hit with new protests over dolphin care

20th December 2019 - Private equity firm makes $750 million offer for Village Roadshow

1st November 2019 - Warner Bros. Movie World opens costume showcase to guests

15th October 2019 - Village Roadshow reveals profit turnaround in last financial year

11th September 2019 - Village Roadshow Theme Parks reveal schedule for opening of new Sea World attractions

23rd February 2017 - Fair Work Commission cuts Sunday and public holiday penalty rates

20th January 2014 - AALARA reminds industry employers of bullying provisions of the Fair Work Act

9th September 2011 - Amusement operator fined $30,000 following prosecution by Fair Work Ombudsman

1st October 2009 - Union looks for Dreamworld pay breakthrough


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