Casuals are great for a workforce. When used correctly, they allow for peaks and troughs of work, ensure coverage for your full span of opening hours, and cover for other people’s holidays and breaks.
But when is a casual really a part-time employee?
The Fair Work Act is silent on the definition of the term part-time employee. This means that it has been left up to the tribunals to decide when a casual employee has tripped over into being a part-time employee (with all the subsequent related additional conditions of employment that being a part-timer attracts).
Here are some of the factors that indicate your casual is really a part-timer.
- Their roster is regular and ongoing from week to week, with minimal variation to their starting and finishing times, and days of the week.
- They are paid weekly wages and not hourly or daily wages.
- They have been with you for an extended period of time.
- They work a significant number of hours each week.
- There is a mutual expectation of continuing employment.
- You require advanced notice of them taking leave of absence from work.
- There is no documentation from when they started employment with you that clearly stated they were a casual employee.
Many Modern Awards and Enterprise Agreements contain a clause permitting eligible casual employees the right to request conversion to permanent employment. If the employee can make the case of regular and ongoing work (for example), then you as employer cannot unreasonably refuse the request.
Terminations & Leave Implications
If a casual employee has been employed in regular, systematic and ongoing work, then they may become eligible for termination payment and leave entitlements.
Actions for Your Business
- Review every casual employee’s roster in your workplace, with particular attention for any casual who has been with you for more than 6 months.
- Check the Modern Award or Enterprise Agreement for any clauses that cover conversion to permanent employment.
- If you see a pattern of regular, systematic and ongoing employment with a casual employee, then they are probably a part-time employee and you need to consider formally changing their employment status.