High Court dismisses employer backpay challenge

11 March, 2024

The High Court of Australia (HCA) has refused to grant special leave for Queensland Catholic employers seeking to appeal a decision that two former teachers were entitled to pay increases contained in new collective agreements despite resigning before the new agreement took formal effect with approval by the Fair Work Commission (FWC). 

Toowoomba Catholic Education and Downlands College unsuccessfully sought to challenge a decision of the full court of the Federal Court in its appellate jurisdiction, which found that former staff who resigned before a new collective agreement formally became operative were entitled to back-dated pay increases contained in the agreement.

Victory for common sense 

IEU-QNT Branch Secretary Terry Burke said the HCA’s decision to refuse special leave to hear the appeal was a victory for common sense and confirmed our union’s correct interpretation of the law.

“Their Honours wrote in the joint decision of barely 100 words that ‘the proposed appeal lacks sufficient prospects of success to warrant the grant of special leave to appeal’,” Mr Burke said.

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