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Jetstar v Greenslade: Staff meal and rest breaks

COURT OF APPEAL OF NEW ZEALAND

TE KŌTI PĪRA O AOTEAROA

11 September 2015

MEDIA RELEASE

JETSTAR AIRWAYS LIMITED v RICHARD GREENSLADE

(CA125/2014) [2015] NZCA 432

PRESS SUMMARY

This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment and reasons can be found at www.courtsofnz.govt.nz.

[Judgment: JetstarAirwaysLtdvGreensladeCA1252014.pdf]

In this appeal the Court of Appeal was asked to determine whether pilots and cabin crew on Jetstar aircraft flying on domestic, trans-Tasman and Pacific routes are entitled to rest and meal breaks during duty periods under the Employment Relations Act 2000 (the ERA).

From 6 March 2015, the ERA has been substantially amended but under the former s 69ZD all employees were entitled to 10-minute paid rest breaks and 30-minute meal breaks during work periods, depending on how long they worked. Mr Greenslade is an airline pilot employed by Jetstar to fly short-haul services on airbus A320 aircraft. His contract provided that he would be entitled to the breaks required by s 69ZD. During the relevant period, he was not provided with these breaks during work periods. 2

Jetstar argued that s 69ZH(2) of the ERA meant it did not have to provide pilots or cabin crew with the rest and meal breaks required by the ERA. Jetstar’s submission was that rest breaks were provided under an Air Operator’s Certificate issued under Australian civil aviation legislation and that this certificate was recognised by New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Act 1990. As such, Jetstar contended it was providing rest breaks “under another enactment” in terms of s 69ZH(2) and that it was therefore exempt from the rest break requirements of the ERA.

In a judgment issued today the Court of Appeal has dismissed Jetstar’s appeal. The Court found that the Australian provisions do not fall within s 69ZH(2) of the ERA. They did not provide mandatory rest and meal breaks during work periods as s 69ZD required.

A second argument raised by Jetstar was also rejected. This was that the terms of Mr Greenslade’s employment agreement with regard to rest and meal breaks was an unlawful contracting out of s 69ZH(2) in terms of s 238 of the ERA.

In the result, Jetstar had not provided the rest and meal breaks required by the ERA prior to the March 2015 amendments to the legislation.


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