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Changes to Casual Employment

Earlier this month the Fair Work Commission made a decision that will change terms and conditions for casual and part time workers. This decision was part of their 4-yearly review of Modern Awards.

The decision allows casual employees the right to request permanent employment after 12 months of regular work.  A casual conversion clause will go into 85 modern awards that do not currently have a provision for casual work.

The clauses will include the following:

  • Casuals will be eligible to convert to full time or part time employment after a period of 12 months
  • That the casual employee has worked a pattern of hours on an ongoing basis which could be performed as a full time or part time employee
  • That the employer must provide all casual employees a copy of the casual conversion clause within the first 12 months of employment
  • That the conversion may be refused on the grounds that it would require a significant adjustment to the casual’s hours of work, or that the casual employee’s position will cease to exist or reduce in the next 12 months.

Disputes over an employer’s refusal will be dealt with under the FWC’s award dispute resolution procedures which we think would mean you would need to have strong business grounds to refuse a request.

It was also decided that Awards which don’t specify a minimum engagement period for casuals, would include minimum shift times of 2 hours.

Furthermore, it was determined that casuals working under the Hospitality Awards would be entitled to overtime penalty rates after working a 12 hour day or 38 hour week. As the penalty rates for evening and weekend work apply equally to full-time, part-time and casual employees, the Fair Work Commission found that then it would also be fair to ensure that overtime penalty rates be applied to casual employees as well. It found that paying overtime penalty rates for casuals would not result in a significant costs burden upon businesses because most casuals in the industries covered by these awards do not work full-time hours anyway.

The Fair Work Commission are now taking further written submissions from interested parties in consideration of their decision. Changes are not yet in effect, but they are what we can expect to see in the future. We think that it’s entirely necessary to review the Awards to keep them relevant, address their shortcomings and allow for flexibility as long as this is done in the genuine interest of being mutually workable. Do you think that the proposed changes are fair to both businesses and employees?

To find out more about your obligations under the Modern Awards and National Employment Standards, feel free to get in touch with us at HR Gurus, where would be able to assist.

Written by resident guru, Jessy Warn.

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