On the 18th March 2021 changes were passed in the Senate relating to casual employees. Up until this time there has been no legislative definition of a casual employee. This was evident in the recent Workpac case which reinforced the uncertainty regarding casual employees and highlighted the risks for employees in this category to claim for leave and other entitlements.
Once the Fair Work Act is amended it will provide details on how to determine a casual employee including;
- Employer can elect to offer work;
- Employee can elect to accept or reject work;
- Employee will work only as required;
- Employment is described as casual employment; and
- Employee will be entitled to casual loading or similar
The amendments also introduce a requirement for employers to offer casuals employees conversion to permanent employment or employees to request conversion to permanent employment under the following circumstances;
- the employee has been employed for 12 months and
- during the previous six months the employee has worked a regular pattern of hours on an on-going basis, which, without significant adjustment, the employee could continue to work as a full-time or part-time employee
The Fair Work Ombudsman will produce a Casual Employment Information Statement which will need to be provided to casual employees on commencement of employment. This will be similar to the Fair Work Information Statement employers are currently required to provide all new employees.
If these amendments are passed employers should review and update their casual employment contracts to ensure they include the terms regarding casual employment and consider if casual employees are truly casual employees based on the definitions set out in the Fair Work Act.
If you need assistance please contact the team at Employment Toolkits