On Friday 26 March 2021, the Fair Work Act 2009 (FW Act) was amended to change workplace rights and obligations for casual employees, called the Fair Work Amendment (Supporting Australia’s Jobs and Economic Recovery) Act 2021.
These changes to casual employment are significant and will impact every employer in Australia who has a casual workforce.
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
Employers must now give every new casual employee a Casual Employment Information Statement (the CEIS) before, or as soon as possible after, they start their new job.
Small business employers need to give their existing casual employees a copy of the CEIS as soon as possible after 27 March 2021. Other employers have to give their existing casual employees a copy of the CEIS as soon as possible after 27 September 2021.
The Casual Employment Information Statement is attached.
For more information go to Casual Employment Information Statement.
Definition of a Casual Employee
Under the new definition, a person is a casual employee if they accept a job offer from an employer knowing that there is no firm advance commitment to ongoing work with an agreed pattern of work.
For existing casual employees, those who were employed immediately before 27 March 2021 and whose initial employment offer meets the new definition continue to be casual employees under the FW Act.
For more information go to: Casual employees.
Becoming a Permanent Employee
The Amendment Act adds a new entitlement to the National Employment Standards (NES) giving casual employees a pathway to become a full-time or part-time (permanent) employee. This is also known as ‘casual conversion’.
An employer (other than a small business employer) has to offer their casual employee to convert 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
- if an employer has ‘reasonable grounds’ not to make an offer to a casual employee for casual conversion.
For more information visit Becoming a permanent employee.
Taking Legal Action
There is a new avenue to resolve some disputes about casual conversion through the Federal Circuit Court.
When an employee is described as casual, but through court proceedings it is determined that they are not casual, the Amendment Act also introduces a new rule that requires a court to reduce any amounts that the employee could be entitled to by reference to casual loading amounts already paid by the employer to the employee to compensate for those entitlements.
For more information see Legal action in the small claims court.
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