Changes to casual employment
Posted by Northadvisory on April 28, 2021
The Fair Work Act 2009 was amended on Friday 26 March 2021. The amendments include changes to workplace rights and obligations for casual employees.
These changes were made by the Fair Work Amendment (Supporting Australia’s Jobs and Economic Recovery) Act 2021 (Amendment Act).
Changes were effective from Saturday 27 March 2021.
The Amendment Act introduces a:
- Casual Employment Information Statement
- definition of casual employment
- pathway for casual employees to move to full-time or part-time (permanent) employment.
Casual Employment Information Statement
Under these recent changes, employers must give all new casual employees a Casual Employment Information Statement (the CEIS) before, or as soon as possible after, they commence employment.
Small business employers – those with fewer than 15 employees – need to give their existing casual employees a copy of the CEIS as soon as possible after 27 March 2021. Other employers must give their existing casual employees a copy of the CEIS as soon as possible after 27 September 2021.
An employer is only required to give an employee the CEIS once in any 12 month period. So, if a person employs a casual employee temporarily at different stages in a 12 month period, they only need to give them the CEIS once.
The CEIS contains information about:
- a casual employee definition
- when an employer has to offer casual conversion
- when an employer doesn’t have to offer casual conversion
- when a casual employee can request casual conversion
- casual conversion entitlements of casual employees employed by small business employers
- the role of the Fair Work Commission to deal with disputes about casual conversion.
Providing the CEIS
An employers can give casual employees the CEIS:
- in person,
- by postal mail, or
- if the employee agrees, by emailing a copy of the CEIS or a link to the CEIS on the Fair Work website.
Definition of casual employment
The Fair Work Act amendment includes a new definition of casual employment.
This new definition states a person is classified as a casual employee if they accept an employment offer from an employer knowing that there is no firm advance commitment to ongoing work with an agreed pattern of work.
Once employed as a casual, they will continue to be a casual employee until they either:
- become a permanent employee through:
- casual conversion, or
- being offered and accepting the offer of full-time or part-time employment, or
- cease employment with the employer.
Becoming a permanent employee
In addition to the definition, the Amendment Act adds a new entitlement to the National Employment Standards (NES). This gives casual employees a pathway to become a full-time or part-time (permanent) employee – known as ‘casual conversion’.
An employer (other than a small business employer) has to offer their casual employee ‘casual conversion’ to full-time or part-time (permanent) when the employee:
- has worked for their employer for 12 months,
- has worked a regular pattern of hours for at least the last 6 of those months on an ongoing basis,
- could continue working those hours as a permanent employee without significant changes.
Some exceptions apply, including:
- small business employers (fewer than 15 employees)
- if an employer has ‘reasonable grounds’ not to make an offer to a casual employee for casual conversion.
Making and responding to offers and requests.
There are rules relating to how employers and employees need to make and respond to offers. There are also rules for offering casual conversion to existing casual employees. You can find out more information about this on the Fair Work website.