Changes to Casual Employment

Changes to Casual Employment are effective now.

These amendments to the Fair Work Act change the definition of Casuals and how you manage them in your business. There are actions you need to take immediately.

These changes have come about because of various court decisions and changes over the years. You can read more about these in earlier posts including in this one – Casual Employment in the spotlight again

The definition of Casual Employment:

The changes introduce a new definition for casual employment providing that a person is a casual employee if:

an offer of casual employment is made on the basis that the employer makes no firm advance commitment to continuing and indefinite work according to an agreed pattern of work, and the employee accepts the offer.

A new casual Employee information statement:

Employers must provide casual employees with a Casual Employee Information Statement. This statement must be given to an employee on commencement.

If you have existing casual employees, you must also provide them with a copy of the statement. Small businesses must do this as soon as possible after 27 March 2021.

Employers must Offer Casual Conversion

If you are a large employer (15 or more employees), you must make an offer to convert an employee to permanent employment if:

  • the employee has been engaged for a period of 12 months; and,
  • during the last six months of that period the employee has worked a regular patter of hours on an ongoing basis; and,
  • the employee could continue to work that pattern of hours as a permanent employee without significant changes.

An employer may decide not to make an offer of conversion if they have reasonable grounds not to make the offer. We will discuss this further in a future post.

Casual Employees can request to convert to permanent employment

Casual employees now have the right to request to convert to Permanent Employment if:

  • at any time if they meet the requirements above and work in a small business; and
  • for employees in large businesses – there employer had decided not to make an offer of conversion.

Casual Loading and Double Dipping:

One of the biggest concerns arising from recent court decisions was that if an employee was found to be a permanent employee (and not a casual employee), they would be entitled to both annual leave, personal leave and their already paid casual loading. This was being called “double dipping”.

These amendments provide direction to courts that they must “reduce any amount payable by the employer to the employee by an amount equal to the loading amount”.

This effectively addresses the concerns regarding double dipping.

What Next?

These changes may apply to all employees employed on a casual basis not just any new casual employees employed by your company after 1st April 2021.

To ensure you are compliant with these changes:

  1. Review your employment arrangements and documents to ensure compliance with the new rules,
  2. Identify the employees eligible for casual conversion,
  3. Seek assistance to update your agreements, systems and processes to ensure compliance with the new rules
  4. Provide all existing employees with a copy of the Casual Employee Information Statement, and
  5. Review your systems and processes to manage employee entitlements to casual conversion.

Need Assistance?

For more information on the changes, please contact us on:

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