Hi there Gurus
Back in June we announced some major changes to both the definition of casual employees and the process and requirements for offering conversions. Well, the time has come and employers (other than small business employers) now have until the 27th of September 2021 to assess whether any existing casual employees (employed before the 27th of March 2021) are eligible to be offered to convert to permanent employment.
If you haven’t already we highly recommend that you:
- make a written offer to convert your casual employees to permanent employment (this must be done within 21 days after making the assessment), or
- write to employees explaining why they won’t be made an offer (this needs to be done within 21 days of making the assessment but by no later than 27 September 2021).
To accept an offer to convert, employees need to respond in writing within 21 days after getting the offer. If they don’t respond, employers can assume that they’ve declined the offer.
We know this can be confusing but essentially if you have casuals that work regular and systematic hours you need to offer them the option to convert to permanent part-time or permanent full-time. If you need assistance with this, then you can access our templates to assist you in doing this right here.
What if my business cannot or does not want to offer a casual employee permanent employment?
As previously advised employers have the right to not offer employees casual employment, or deny requests for conversion but you need to go through the following process.
- You need to send a letter to your employee and notify them whether you are going to be offering them a conversion from casual to permanent. Please note employees have the right to not accept this conversion and can opt to remain casual.
- If you are not offering them conversion or you are declining a request you need to outline the reasons why, these reasons but be covered under the reasonable grounds.
You have 21 days to respond to requests in writing. You need to be careful when doing this, as you do not want to incriminate your business by unknowingly breaching the FWA. Don’t worry we can assist.
- You need to consult with your employees around these changes, and we recommend doing 1:1 meetings with all your casual employees and keeping records of these consultation meetings.
- You need to update your casual contracts of employment to include wording around the new definitions.
Essentially it is critical that you have a look at all your casual employees and determine if they really meet the definition of casual. Is there an expectation of ongoing work? Do they work on a roster, or get their hours in advance? Do they have set days or hours of work? If so then they are no longer a casual under the definition within the FWA.
Breaches of the FWA carry penalties of up to $66,000 per breach you do not want to get caught out around these changes.
As previously mentioned we know this is really complicated and we are happy to help! We have created some letter templates to assist you to manage this and are offering them here for free.
The letters we have created are:
- Letter to offer conversion from casual to permanent.
- Letter to advise that you will not be offering conversion.
Once again if you are confused about what this means for you and your business then reach out we would happy to assist you to execute a plan of attack.
Written by Emily Jaksch