Employed by the respondent, Australia Post, the applicant claimed loss and damage of an approximated $200,000.00 in overtime, rest relief and meal allowance over the course of a four year period, spanning from 2010 to 2014. The respondent’s alleged failure to combine the applicant’s three-hour morning shift as a Postal Delivery Officer (PDO) with its evening hours, undertaken as a Postal Services Officer (PSO), lay at the forefront of the applicant’s claim.
Relying on s 52(2) of the Fair Work Act (FWA), the applicant maintained that the respondent had breached the terms of its enterprise agreement, through its purported failure to accord relevant entitlements to the applicant.
Discarding the applicant’s claims that its roles as a PDO and a PSO were not distinct and therefore, should be regarded as cumulative duties for the purposes of s 52(2) of the FWA, the court held that the respondent was not at fault.
In doing so, the court asserted that the applicant did, in fact, hold two “separate and distinct” part-time positions, preventing him from claiming overtime and other entitlements on combined hours. Distinguishing the two positions of employment, the court pointed to key factual circumstances:
- the applicant obtained the positions at different times and conducted them in two separate locations; and
- each position coincided with different personnel numbers, as well as different rates of pay.
Bearing great significance in the case, the court held that the operation of s 52(2) is such that, where an employer engages in two or more jobs, each job is to be regarded as separate for the purposes of:
“determining the effect of an award or agreement on the employees’ entitlements in relation to each job”.
Therefore, the applicant’s two positions of employment, though governed by the same employer, were to be dealt with separately with respect to the determination of entitlements.