If you are a business owner who is currently the employer of casual workers, new rules have been enforced that could change how your employees are to be treated.. If you are a casual employee, these rules could affect your current employment conditions.
The Fair Work Act 2009 provides the definition of casual employment. Under the Fair Work Act, casual employment is defined as when a person is offered a job, but the offer does not include a firm, advance commitment that the work will continue indefinitely (there is no agreed pattern of work, and no additional rewards or bonuses). Once the person accepts the job offer, they undertake casual employment and become a casual employee.
A casual worker, therefore, is without the agreed pattern of work or an advance commitment to ongoing work from an employer that other types of employees may enjoy (such as part or full-time employees). There is no consistent or guaranteed work schedule and the employee is paid an hourly rate (as well as casual loading according to the modern award applicable to their situation).
Casual employees make up 24.4% of the workforce. Some of the more common types of casual workers that you may be familiar with include those involved in retail, hospitality or in customer service positions. They are a form of employment option for businesses looking for workers who are able to fill specific positions or times on demand, without the regimentation and additional rigamarole that employing part-time or full-time employees may need.
If you require employees to agree to a regular roster well in advance of scheduled work and rely on them as an integral member of your team, talk to us about whether that employee should be considered a permanent one. True casuals can choose whether or not to work when you offer them shifts. There are certain things that you may have to consider if they are not truly casual employees that could affect their employment status.
There have been amendments made to the Fair Work Act 2009 to enforce several new rules for the employment of casual workers. This includes a clearer pathway for how casual employees can transition to permanent workers.
If you are the employer of casual workers, you are now obliged to present casual workers with the option to convert to permanent employment after 12 months of being employed with you, if the pattern of work has been systematic and regular during the last 6 months.
Essentially, if you are a casual worker who has been receiving regular shifts and completing them during the previous 6 months of employment, after a full year of employment, your employer must present you with the option for permanent work.
Some modern awards already have clauses that allow employees to request permanent work. The Act overrides individual award provisions and means that employers must now actively offer conversion to casual workers who meet the criteria for converting to a permanent position.
If there are reasonable grounds for a business to not make an offer of permanent employment, the employer must notify casual employees.
Similarly, the rules around reasonable business grounds, when employees can refuse an offer, time constraints, and transitional provisions are complex. Here are some tips regarding your current workers employment statuses, and how you can review your workforce.
- Check your employment contracts to make sure they meet the new definition of casual employment.
- Put in place a process for assessing casual roles at the 12 month anniversary of the employee start date.
- You’ll need to keep detailed records for casual employees to ensure you are complying with the changes.
Speak with us if you’d like assistance with managing your casual workforce, or if you would like business planning advice regarding your employees.