Casual Employee Has A New Meaning

A historical review will show the definition of “casual” in relation to employment has been something of a moveable feast over the last few decades. But what is inescapable is the trend to limiting the application of casual employment. Recent times have been no different and there are new changes that needs to be considered.

Casual Conversion Clauses

Casual conversion clauses have been part of the Modern Award system since it’s inception. There is some confusion as most awards use the “Model Term”, but approximately 14 awards have modified versions of the standard clause. Furthermore, a new “Model” casual conversion clause was defined in October 2018.

We will focus on the “Model” clause which will apply to the bulk of Modern Awards. It reads as follows.

“A casual employee who has, in the preceding period of 12 months, worked a pattern of hours on an ongoing basis which, without significant adjustment, the employee could continue to perform as a full-time employee or part-time employee under the provisions of this award.”

What are the facts:

1. You must provide casual employees with a copy of the clause within their first year of engagement.

2. As an employer you are not required to offer conversion to permanent or part time engagement.

3. An employee has the right to request conversion to permanent or part time engagement.

4. An application to convert to permanent or part time can be rejected on reasonable grounds.

Reasonable grounds include:

  • A significant adjustment of work hours for the employee in order to accommodate their full-time or part-time employment status;
  • The employee worked for short periods and/or irregular shifts or hours; and
  • The position of the casual employee will cease to exist or change substantially in the foreseeable future.

Any rejection must be in writing.

Action List

1. Find out what is required to be done under the award(s) governing your business.

2. Draft a letter.

3. List all relevant employees.

4. Send the letter to all relevant employees

5. Revise or set up procedures so that this automatically happens in future.

Disclaimer – the action required will vary from award to award. Do not assume the above is accurate for your business. It is intended as a general guide and not specific advice.

View more blog articles