Following a landmark 2018 decision by the Fair Work Commission, long-term casual employees in general have gained additional rights to request that their employment be converted to permanent employment status.
From 1 October 2018, increased casual conversion rights and obligations were implemented into many Modern Industry Awards that affect the majority of long-term casual employees across Australia.
What is a Casual Employee?
A casual employee:
- has no guaranteed hours of work;
- usually works irregular hours;
- doesn’t get paid sick or paid annual leave; and
- can end their employment without notice (unless notice is required by a registered agreement, award or employment contract).
Casual employees are entitled to a higher rate of pay, by way of a ‘casual loading’, which is paid because they don’t get benefits such as paid sick or paid annual leave.
A Long-Term Casual Employee
A casual employee who has, over a period of at least 12 months, worked a regular pattern of shifts on an ongoing basis, becomes a ‘long-term casual’.
Casual Conversion Rights in General
From 1 October 2018, many (but not all) Modern Industry Awards have been updated to include terms in line with the following:
- A person engaged by a particular employer as a long-term casual employee may request that their employment be converted to full-time or part-time employment.
- Any requested conversion must be in writing and provided to the employer.
- Where a long-term casual employee seeks to convert to full-time or part-time employment, the employer may agree to or refuse the request, but the request may only be refused on reasonable grounds and after there has been consultation with the employee.
- Where the employer refuses a long-term casual employee’s request to convert their employment status, the employer must provide the long-term casual employee with the employer’s reasons for refusal in writing within 21 days of the request being made.
Many Modern Industry Awards include mandatory terms that the employer must offer a conversion election to its eligible long-term casual employees by way of a notice.
Take Away Message
Casual employees, and businesses who employ casual employees, should familiarise themselves with their rights and obligations. It is important for businesses to ensure compliance with their legal obligations.
If you are a business owner or a casual employee and would like to discuss your specific situation, please contact Grant Butterfield or Simon Kumar on 02 4626 5077 to have a short discussion with comps.
The contents of this publication are for reference purposes only. This publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Specific legal advice should always be sought separately before taking any action based on this publication.