New Regulations on Casual Employment

New Regulations on Casual Employment

Federal Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations Kelly O’Dwyer made two important announcements that you need to know about if you employ casual workers.

1. WorkPac v SkeneThe Government will create new regulations that employers who have been found to wrongly categorise employees as casual, will be able to ask the court to offset casual loadings already paid, against any orders to backpay those workers.

This prevents “double-dipping” practices that could have resulted from the WorkPac v Skene case a few months ago, where a truck driver who was employed casually through a labour-hire firm, was found to be a full-time employee entitled to annual leave and sick pay.

2. Extension of casual conversion rightsThe Federal Government said they will legislate that “regular casual employees” will have the right to request to move to full-time or part-time employment. 

This addresses a recent Fair Work Commission (FWC) decision which provides eligible award-reliant casual employees with a right to request to convert to full-time or part-time employment.

The details are still to be decided and it is understood that the Government will be “consulting” businesses. What the Federal Government will specifically need to address is what rights employers will have to refuse such requests.

What does this mean for you?

Employers can take some practical steps to reduce their level of risk such as:

  • Comply with relevant Modern Award casual conversion clauses and document all conversions with employees who elect not to convert to part-time or full-time employment when offered;
  • Offer casual employees part-time or full-time positions when they become available, again documenting all related correspondence;
  • Where possible, limit rosters to weekly or fortnightly;
  • Have employees tender their availability for rosters to give casual employees more say over when they work;
  • Have employees tender their availability and provide shifts using a workforce planning model that limits regular and systematic hours;
  • Having a statement on all rosters stating that casual hours are not a guarantee of ongoing regular and systematic work and can be changed, varied or cancelled dependent on operational requirements and staffing levels;
  • Ensuring casual employment contracts specify that there is no entitlement to ongoing and regular and systematic work and employees are compensated with the 25% casual loading in lieu of annual leave and sick leave entitlements;
  • Ensure pay slips specify payment of the 25% casual loading.

Need help?

Should you require any further advice regarding regular or systematic casuals, please don’t hesitate to contact the Employer Assistance Team via 1300 135 822.

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