The Fair Work Act was amended in March 2021 to include a definition of 'casual employee' and includes a casual conversion scheme. Employers must make an offer of conversion to all eligible employees by 27 September 2021.
Section 15A of the Fair work Act defines a person as a casual employee if:
(a) An offer of employment made by the employer to the person is made on the basis that the employer makes no firm advance commitment to continuing and indefinite work according to an agreed pattern of work for the person; and
(b) The person accepts the offer on that basis; and
(c) The person is an employee as a result of that acceptance.
The section also states that the determination of whether a person is casual will be made based on the offer of employment, not on the subsequent conduct of the parties. For this reason the employment contract will be crucial to determining the status of employees.
The amendments also create a scheme for casual employees to be converted to permanent part-time or full time employees.
The scheme creates a positive obligation on employers, with more than 15 employees, to offer conversion to all casual employees by 27 September 2021, if they have been:
- Employed for more than 12 months and
- Worked a pattern of regular hours for at least the last 6 months on an ongoing basis.
After 27 September 2021, casual employees can make a request to convert to permanent employment if they fit the criteria. You can refuse the request on reasonable grounds.
What do you need to do now as an employer?
- Check your current offers of employment to casual employees to make sure you are defining them as a casual employee;
- Check the status of all employees in your current workforce to see if you need to make any offers of conversion before 27 September 2021;
- Provide all new employees with a casual employment Information sheet;
- Provide all existing Casual employees in your businesses (if you have more than 15 staff) a casual employment information sheet.
If you have any questions about these changes or how this might affect your business, please call our experienced team on (02) 6336 1485. We're here to help!
Shanaya Stapleton | Solicitor