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When Casual is No Longer Casual

Martin Spiers - Monday, September 25, 2017

If you have casual employees, then they may no longer be “casuals” following a recent decision by the Fair Work Commission.

Changes for around 85 Modern Awards are being drafted to allow casual employees to elect to convert their employment status to permanent full-time, or permanent part-time. Although the final wording is yet to be finalised, it is expected that casual employees will be able to apply for this conversion if:

1 .They have been employed for at least 12 months;

2. They have worked a consistent pattern of hours that can be continued if converted into full-time or part-time employment.

It is also expected that employers can refuse this conversion if:

1 .A significant adjustment to the employee’s hours will be required;

2. It is reasonably foreseeable, or if it is certain, that the employee’s employment will cease;

3. The employee’s hours will change significantly, or will be reduced, over the next 12 months; or

4. There are “reasonable grounds” to do so.

What constitute “reasonable grounds” will become clearer once the wording for the changes is finalised.

This change could have a significant impact on employers that have a large casual workforce, because it may not be easily proven that this conversion will result in a detrimental financial outcome for the employer. So if you believe that you will be adversely affected by this, then please contact our team at H & M Accountants, and seek appropriate legal advice.

By Philippe Phan