The three significant recent changes all employers need to know in relation to the employment of casuals are:
- Casual Employment Information Statement
- Definition of casual employment
- Pathway for casual employees to move to full-time or part-time (permanent) employment.
1. Casual Employment Information Statement
The Casual Employee Information Statement must also be provided to all casual employees going forward – including existing casual employees. For small business employers (those with less than 15 employees), the Casual Employment Information Statement must be provided as soon as possible. For all other employers, this can be provided post 27 September 2021.
Don’t forget to include this in your new employee information pack when employing any casuals in the future.
Download the Statement here.
2. Definition of a casual employee
The Amended Omnibus Bill introduces a statutory definition of a casual employee to be included in the Fair Work Act 2009 (FW Act). The definition provides that a casual employee is a person:
- who is offered work with no firm advance commitment to continuing and indefinite work according to an agreed pattern of work
- who accepts the offer of work on that basis, and
- who is employed as a result of that acceptance.
Read more: Casual employee entitlements.
3. Becoming a permanent employee
On 1st October 2018, Fair Work added a casual conversion clause to 84 modern awards. This allowed regular casual employees the right to request their employment to be converted from casual to full-time or part-time.
The Fair Work Act 2009 (FW Act) has now been amended further to change workplace rights and obligations for casual employees. The changes came into effect on the 27th of March 2021.
The Amended Act includes provisions that enable offers (from employers) and requests (from employees) for casual conversion to permanent employment. This is also known as ‘casual conversion’.
A casual employee may request an employer under this section if:
- has worked for their employer for 12 months
- has worked a regular pattern of hours for at least the last 6 of those months on an ongoing basis
- could continue working those hours as a permanent employee without significant changes.
Some exceptions apply, including:
- small business employers (less than 15 employees)
- If an employer has ‘reasonable grounds’ not to make an offer to a casual employee for casual conversion.
What Should Employers Do?
It is vital that you are across these changes and what it means for your business, as there are some new rights and obligations.
As a result of the new amendments becoming law, employers should review the terms and conditions of engagement for their casual employees and identify who may be eligible for casual conversion.
There are important processes employers will need to consider implementing including:
- Updating new and existing employment contracts to meet the new definition of casual employment.
- Updating new and existing employment contracts (and potentially payslips) to make sure casual loading is clearly referred to a payment in lieu of permanent entitlements.
- Have processes in place for issuing the Casual Employment Information Statement (CEIS) and the Fair Work Information Statement (FWIS). As there are no regulations set out on how this form should be distributed, best practice is to have a set process in place, such as an employee signature and date on form. Implement this process into your onboarding procedures.
- Have processes in place for assessing whether existing casuals are to be offered conversion within 6 months of the new law being passed (by 27th September 2021).
- Introduce procedures for dealing with casual conversion that ensure the employer’s operational requirements are considered whilst simultaneously ensuring compliance with the Fair Work Act.
- Have processes in place for offering conversion to casual employment at the 12 month anniversary of employment or issuing reasons for why making such an offer is not reasonable.
Please feel free to reach out if you need any further guidance.
For more information https://www.fairwork.