On 1st October 2018, 85 Modern Awards changed to include the right of casual workers to request permanent employment.
The new clause introduces the concept of a “regular casual employee”, being 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 employee or part-time employee”.
This means a casual staff member who has, over the past 12 months, consistently worked a pattern of hours equivalent to those performed under a part-time or full-time role according to their relevant Modern Award provisions. If your worker falls under this category, then they are now entitled to seek a full-time or part-time position, by submitting a request for your consideration.
If you employ casuals in your workplace and are covered by an Award, this is what you need to do:
- Check if your Award has the new clause (top tip – most do).
- You must provide a copy of the new clause to casual employees employed before 1 October 2018, by 1st January 2019.
- You need to provide a copy of the new clause to all of you casual employees employed on or after 1 October 2018, within 12 months of their employment commencing.
- The casual employees wishing to request conversion must put their request in writing.
- You need to respond in writing within 21 days of receiving the request.
- You do not need to agree to the request if you have reasonable business grounds for doing so.
Reasonable business grounds would be:
- If the conversion requires a significant adjustment to the employee’s hours of work in order for the employee to be engaged as a full-time or part-time employee in line with the Award
- If it is known, or reasonably foreseeable, that:
- the employee’s position will cease to exist within the next 12 months;
- the hours of work which the employee is required to perform will be significantly reduced in the next 12 months; or
- there will be a significant change in the days and/or times at which the employee’s hours of work are required to be performed in the next 12 months which cannot be accommodated within the days and/or hours during which the employee is available to work.
We highly recommend checking if you need to comply with the new casual conversion clause to ensure you are covered under these changes and that you understand the potential risks in engaging “regular casuals” for your business.
To learn more about how to protect your business and ensure compliance, give us a call at HR Gurus where our qualified team of experts can assist you.
Written by Senior HR Guru, Jessy Warn.