Changes to Casual Employment Laws

Exemple

Changes to Casual Employment Laws

By 27 September 2021, employers (other than small businesses) need to assess whether their existing casuals are eligible to be offered permanent employment.

An employer must make a written offer to convert a casual employee to permanent employment if:

  • They have been employed by them for at least 12 months;
  • They’ve worked a regular pattern of hours for the last 6 months on an ongoing basis, and;
  • Their regular hours could continue as a permanent employee without significant changes.

The offer needs to be for the employee to convert to:

  • Full-time employment, if the employee’s hours worked for at least the last 6 months have been the same as full-time hours, or
  • Part-time employment (consistent with the employee’s regular pattern of hours worked for at least the last 6 months), if the employee’s hours worked for at least the last 6 months have been less than full-time hours.

The employer needs to make this offer to the employee before 27 September 2021 or within 21 days after their 12-month anniversary, whichever is later.

The employee must respond to the offer in writing within 21 days and either accept or reject the offer to convert. If they don’t respond, the employer can assume they have declined the offer.

An employer does not have to offer casual conversion if the employee is not eligible as they have not been employed for 12 months, they have not worked a regular pattern of hours on an ongoing basis for the last six months, or there are reasonable grounds for them not to.

Reasonable grounds for deciding not to make an offer can include that, in the next 12 months:

  • The employee’s position won’t exist;
  • The employee’s hours of work will significantly reduce; or
  • The employee’s days or times of work will significantly change, and that can’t be accommodated within the employee’s available days or times for work.

Reasonable grounds can also include:

  • Making the offer would not comply with a recruitment or selection process required by or under a Commonwealth, State or Territory law; or
  • The employer would have to make a significant adjustment to the employee’s work hours for them to be employed full-time or part-time.

The employer needs to write to the employee explaining why they won’t be offering permanent employment within 21 days of making the assessment, but by no later than 27 September 2021.

Requests for Casual Conversion

Eligible casual employees (except for small business employees) can request to convert to permanent employment from 21 days after their 12-month anniversary. Those employed by small business can make a request at any time on or after their 12-month anniversary.

The conditions for conversion remain the same, however an employee isn’t eligible to make a request if, in the last 6 months:

  • They’ve refused an offer from their employer to convert to permanent employment;
  • The employer has told them in writing that they won’t be making an offer of casual conversion because there was a reasonable ground not to make the offer;
  • The employer has refused another request for casual conversion because there was a reasonable ground to refuse the request.

Casual employees who believe they are eligible to convert to permanent employment may make a request every 6 months. On occasion, they can still make a request within 6 months of the employer advising they won’t make an offer, because they are now working a regular pattern of hours which was not occurring at the time of their earlier request.

All requests must be in writing.

Employers need to respond in writing to an employee’s request within 21 days and tell the employee if they have or haven’t accepted the request. If the employer refuses the request, they also have to tell the employee their reasons why in their written response.

Employers can’t refuse a request unless they have discussed the request with the employee and have reasonable grounds to refuse the request.

After an Offer or Request is Accepted

Before a casual employee converts to permanent employment, the employer has to discuss with the employee the:

  • Type of employment (full-time or part-time).
  • The hours of work as a permanent employee.
  • The start date as a permanent employee.

If a casual employee accepts an employer’s offer to convert, the employer needs to then confirm this information in writing to their employee within 21 days after the employee accepts their offer.

If an employer accepts a casual employee’s request to convert, the employer needs to then confirm this information in writing to their employee within 21 days after the employee has requested to convert. This can be in the same notice as when the employer tells the casual employee that they are accepting their request.

In summary:

  • By 27 September 2021, employers (other than small businesses) need to assess whether their existing casuals are eligible to be offered permanent employment.
  • Make a written offer to convert their casual employees to permanent employment (this must be done within 21 days after making the assessment), or
  • Write to employees explaining why they won’t be made an offer (this needs to be done within 21 days of making the assessment but by no later than 27 September 2021).
  • On an ongoing basis, assess any casual employee’s request to convert to permanent employment against the eligibility requirements and reasonable grounds criteria.
  • Make sure all offers, requests, acceptances and refusals are in writing and actioned within required timeframes.

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Jodie Fowler

Jodie has almost 30 years of experience in HR across a variety of organisations and industry sectors. As an HR specialist she uses her vast knowledge and experience to provide trusted advice and solutions to all HR Central clients.

Jodie has a Professional Diploma in HR (Deakin University), a Graduate Certificate in Management (Adelaide University) and a Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessment.

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