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Are you employing casual staff? If you are but you don’t meet your obligations, saying "I didn't know" is not a reasonable excuse to the Fair Work Ombudsman.
The introduction of the casual conversion clause from 1 October 2018 in many modern awards has affected the rights and obligations of employers who employ casual staff who work on a regular and systematic basis.
All casual employees, subject to an award in which the clause has been added or one in which the clause already existed, are to be given a copy of the clause in written form during the first 12 months of their term of engagement with the employer.
Please note that this clause might or might not be relevant to your current and future employees – the award which regulates your employee/s may not include the clause.
The casual conversion clause allows a casual worker to become a part-time or full-time employee if:
- a qualifying period of 12 calendar months is met;
- the casual employee must have engaged in work with a pattern of hours on an ongoing basis over a 12 month period, which may continue to be worked on a full-time or part-time basis without the need for significant adjustment.
- The clause does not require the employer to offer permanent employment.
- The clause outlines that the employer does not have to agree with a request for permanent employment, as long as they have reasonable grounds to do so.
Reasonable grounds include if:
- a significant change of hours is required to engage casual employee as a part-time or full-time employee.
- it is reasonably foreseeable that the employee's position will not be available in 12 months.
- the employee's hours are likely to change or reduce significantly over the next 12 months.
What Employers Need to Do
- The employer must provide a copy of the new clause to all casual employees employed on or after 1 October 2018, within 12 months of their employment commencing.
- The employer is to respond in writing to the casual employee within 21 days of receiving a request for permanent employment. If the request is refused, reasons why need to be given.
What Employees Need to Do
- The casual employee to put their request in writing if they want to be considered for a permanent part-time or full-time position.
- The employer is to respond in writing to the casual employee within 21 days of receiving the request. If refusing, need to state reason why.