The National Retail Association (NRA) has today welcomed the announcement by the federal government that it is acting rapidly to prevent business-destroying double-dipping claims that are unfair and put economic growth and jobs at risk.

It follows a recent Federal Court ruling that a casual truck driver, Paul Skene, employed by WorkPac was entitled to backpay for entitlements such as annual leave even though he had received a casual loading in lieu of these entitlements, because he had worked regular shifts for a prolonged period.

NRA Deputy CEO Lindsay Carroll said this Government action was crucial to prevent double dipping – payment twice for the same benefit – by staff claiming backpay for entitlements such as Annual Leave even though they had received a Casual Loading in lieu of these same entitlements.

“Double dipping” claims have the real potential to financially cripple many businesses across the Australian economy which damaging job losses as a consequence.

“The NRA welcomes today’s announcement by the federal government and the fact that it is protecting businesses, especially small and medium businesses, against the real risk of damaging Double Dipping claims,” Ms Carroll said.

“Throughout this process the NRA has been the only retail industry group prosecuting the argument and advocating to government on the need to close the double-dipping loophole before it causes carnage across the economy.

“The NRA, along with our members across the country, are grateful that the government has listened, and we now urge all parliamentarians to endorse this Government action.”

Ms Carroll said that although the WorkPac case related to the mining sector, there was still the real possibility that other industries could be affected.

“Allowing casual employees to ‘double dip’ has the potential to financially cripple many small and medium businesses across several sectors of the economy.”

“The retail sector in particular employs a large number of casual workers in periods of high customer demand such as in the weeks leading up to Christmas,” Ms Carroll said.

“If the WorkPac precedent had been allowed to stand, it would shatter many mum-and-dad small businesses that, having paid Casual Loadings in good faith, would not have set aside money for these double dipping claims that could go back 6 years. Such double dipping claims would drive businesses to the wall and cost jobs.

“The NRA urges the union movement to not play politics with this issue as it threatens the livelihoods of many small businesses and would put jobs at risk.”

The National Retail Association is Australia’s largest and most representative retail industry association.  It has been serving businesses in the retail and fast food sectors for close to 100 years.

Lindsay Carroll is available for interviews.
Please contact the NRA’s media unit on (07) 3240 0163 or 0467 792 013.