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ETU fights for sick leave rights – appeals Qantas decision

Eimear O'Sullivan

When Qantas stood down 20,000 workers this year, it decided to not pay sick leave to those workers despite being in the middle of a pandemic. It argued that it didn’t have to, so therefore it wouldn’t.

The ETU and other Alliance unions continue to fight for basic industrial rights.

When Qantas stood down 20,000 workers this year, it decided to not pay sick leave to those workers despite being in the middle of a pandemic. It argued that it didn’t have to, so therefore it wouldn’t.

The ETU led the charge against this gross act, running a test case in the Federal Court of Australia. Initially unsuccessful, the ETU, along with the AMWU, AWU and TWU, and backed by the ACTU, appealed the case to the Full Court.

ETU Assistant Secretary, Michael Wright, was the solicitor on the record for the Unions.

This case involves the stripping of some of the most basic and important employment rights. We cannot allow workers – in the middle of a pandemic – to have their sick leave and personal leave rights taken away.

“There is no excuse for Qantas’ behaviour. The ETU, with our comrades throughout the union movement, will continue to fight for what is right,” said Michael.  

If successful, the Union’s case will have ramifications for Australian workplaces throughout the country and will guarantee that workers have a right to be paid for personal leave even when they are stood down.

We are hopeful for a decision before the end of the year. In the meantime, if you have been stood down AND your employer is refusing to pay personal leave (i.e. sick leave and carer’s leave), get in touch with the Union ASAP.


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