Some major changes have recently occurred in respect to employment of casual employees. The majority of modern Awards were amended in October 2018 to include a clause that provides that a regular casual employee can request conversion to permanent full-time or part-time employment. ‘Regular casual employees’ includes an employee who works ‘a pattern of hours on an ongoing basis which, without significant adjustment, the employee could continue to perform as a full-time or part-time employee’.
The request must be in writing and, if refused, reasons must be provided by the employer within 21 days. Refusal of a request for casual conversion can only be made on reasonable grounds.
Any existing casual employees should be provided with a copy of the casual conversion clause from the relevant Award immediately, and any casual employees hired after 1 October 2018 must be provided with the relevant clause within 12 months of commencement of their employment.
Not all modern Awards have been amended, and a modified clause was inserted into a small number of Awards. As such, it is important that employers carefully review the Award/s relevant to their workplace to determine if and how their casual employees are affected.
If you do employ casuals who are affected by these changes we suggest you:
- Send an email to all casual employees advising them of their right to casual conversion and providing them with a copy of the conversion clause.
- Ensure that all new casual employees are provided with a copy of the conversion clause within 12 months of commencing employment with you.
- Ensure that all conversion requests are carefully considered, and that any refusal is based on reasonable grounds with reasons provided to the employee.
If you have any questions arising from this information, please do not hesitate to call Meaghan Denholm of our office to discuss.