The decision of a Full Bench of the WAIRC in Baker Hughes Australia Pty Ltd v Venier [2016] WAIRC 00843 delivered on Wednesday, 26 October 2016 is significant for employers whose employees transfer between different entities in a corporate group.

The decision confirms that the Long Service Leave Act 1958 (WA) does not generally require recognition of an employee’s service with their employer’s related bodies corporate when calculating long service leave entitlements. Unless the employment contract, a policy or an applicable industrial instrument requires recognition of the employee’s previous service with related bodies corporate for long service leave accrual purposes, the employer has discretion whether to recognise it. The decision does contemplate scope for piercing the corporate veil in an appropriate case.

This is unique to Western Australia. In all other Australian jurisdictions, employers are in some way required to recognise previous service with related bodies corporate for long service leave accrual purposes.