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Casual Conversion

The Fair Work Act 2009 was updated on 26th March 2021 to reflect new workplace rights and obligations for casual employees. One of the main changes to the Act was the requirement for employers to provide their casual staff with a Casual Employment Information Statement. The statement brings to light several aspects of casual employment centered around “casual conversion”. So what is casual conversion and how will affect employers in Australia?

Casual conversion is when a casual employee moves to permanent part-time or full-time employment. The recent changes to the Fair Work Act enforce new casual conversion rules for employers. Some rules affect large employers, while others affect small employers (those with 15 or fewer employees). 

If you are a large employer, you must offer your casual employee the opportunity to move to permanent positions when/if s/he:

  • has worked for you for 12 months
  • has worked a regular pattern of hours for at least the previous 6 months
  • could continue to work the same hours (or more hours) as a part or full-time employee without too much disruption to himself or the workplace

You do not have to offer casual conversion if you have reasonable grounds to do so. These may include the following:

  • the employee’s position will cease within 12 months
  • the employee’s hours will be significantly reduced
  • the times and/or the days the work is to be performed will be significantly changed and those changes cannot be accommodated by the employee’s availability to work
  • making the offer would not comply with a State or Territory law

Please note, however, even if you have decided not to offer casual conversion to your staff initially, this does not mean that they cannot apply for it at a later date.

If you are a small employer, you are less likely to be affected by these new casual conversion rules. However, please note that this does not stop your casual employee from requesting conversion. If this occurs, you must act accordingly and attempt to accommodate the employee’s wishes.

If the employer decides not to make an offer for casual conversion, he must do so in writing as per the Fair Work website. However, I would say that it is best practice to ensure that all communication with your employees about changes to their employment, is in writing. So, if you are going to make an offer for conversion or decline an offer, always put this in writing and file the document with the employee’s records.

If you need further information about casual conversion, please visit the Fair Work website.

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The difference between full time, part time, casual and temporary employees

Employing staff can be a minefield even for the best of us! One of the confusing aspects can be understanding the difference between employment statuses and what each one can mean for your employees. Today’s blog will hopefully shine some light on the topic.

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Employment Statuses

There are four employment statuses to choose from:

  • Permanent Full Time
  • Permanent Part Time
  • Casual
  • Temporary

Here is an explanation of each employment status:

Permanent Full Time Employee

Full-time employees have been employed on an ongoing basis for an average maximum of 38 ordinary hours per week. They are entitled to:

  • Annual leave
  • Personal leave
  • Public holidays
  • Parental leave
  • Long service leave
  • Superannuation guarantee
  • Period of notice if job is terminated

Permanent Part Time Employee

Part-time employees work less than 38 hours per week but these are usually set hours and/or days. They are entitled to:

  • Annual leave
  • Personal leave
  • Public holidays
  • Parental leave
  • Long service leave
  • Superannuation guarantee
  • Period of notice if job is terminated

Casual Employee

Casual employees do not have regular work hours and are not guaranteed to get regular work. They are paid for the hours worked and receive a loading (usually 25% but you must check the relevant award as this can vary) to compensate them for not receiving the same benefits as full or part-time workers. Casuals can be entitled to penalty rates, loadings, and allowances – again check your award for further details. Casuals are entitled to:

  • 2 days unpaid carers leave per occasion
  • 2 days compassionate leave per occasion
  • Community service leave (except paid jury service)
  • Unpaid parental leave
  • 2 days unpaid adoption leave
  • Superannuation guarantee
  • A day off on public holidays unless a work day has been arranged between the worker and the employer
  • A maximum of 38 hours per week, plus reasonable additional hours
  • After a period of regular employment across 12 months (and if the position is to continue), casuals are entitled to flexible working hours and parental leave
  • Casuals may also be entitled to long service leave and paid parental leave

Temporary Employee

Temporary employees are engaged for a specific period of time either via a fixed-term contract or to assist in a particular project which has an end date. These employees are also considered to be temporary if they replace permanent employees who may have taken long service leave, parental leave, or who are injured. Workers engaged via an agency would also be classified as temporary. Temporary employees are eligible for the same entitlements as described above depending on whether they are employed on a full-time, part-time or casual basis.

More information about this topic can be found on the Fairwork website.

I hope you now have a clearer understanding of the difference between the 4 employment statuses than you did before! This is a very basic description of employment statuses. For more specific information related to your industry and employees, please refer to your award.

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