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Casual Employees - 5 Steps to Ensure Compliance

Updated: Nov 6, 2022

Following a well publicised decision in August 2018 (Workpac v Skene), employers who relied on ‘casual’ labour were concerned that, despite paying ‘casual loading,’ these employees would be able to ‘double dip’ and claim leave and other entitlements on top, if they were deemed to be part-time or full-time employees. Changes to the Fair Work Regulations were introduced on 18 December 2019, to give employers the right to claim a casual loading should off-set NES entitlements and prevent employees ‘double-dipping’. Further changes were also introduced to most modern awards, giving regular casual employees the right to request conversion to full-time or part-time employment. Here’s 5 easy steps to ensure compliance:

  1. **Notify employee and provide Casual Conversion Clause - **check your Award to determine whether it contains a Casual Conversion Clause. Most Awards allow “regular casual employees” to request to convert to full-time or part-time if they have worked a pattern of hours on an ongoing basis, for a period of either 6 or 12 months. If your employees have a casual conversion clause in their Award, then you must provide them with a letter and a copy of the clause as they reach the appropriate milestone.

  2. **Respond to any requests to convert within 21 days - **after the employee has reached the appropriate milestone, they may submit a request in writing to convert to part-time or full-time employment consistent with the hours worked in the previous 6 or 12 month period. The employer must respond to the request within 21 days and is only able to refuse on reasonable grounds after consultation with the employee.

  3. **Review your existing use of casual employees within the business - **identify those who may be deemed ‘regular casuals’. Notify any employees who meet the criteria, as outlined in point 1 above. Implement a tracking system that prompts notifications when casual employee’s reach milestones to ensure they are notified of right to request conversion to full-time or part-time employment. Consider whether it would be more beneficial to engage employees as either part-time or full-time employees from the outset, if you expect them to work a regular pattern of work on an ongoing basis.

  4. **Review and update employment contracts as required - **clearly define within the employment contract whether an employee is a ‘casual’ and that they are receiving casual loading to compensate in lieu of NES entitlements, such as paid leave. Also amend payslips as necessary to reflect any casual loading payment.

  5. **Document the process - **as with any HR tips, its always important to document communications including; notifications to employees, responses from employees, requests to convert and your responses to those requests, ensuring that you keep to the required timeline.

If you need any help with reviewing your casual workforce or setting up a process to ensure you comply with an Award and the NES regulations, please give Five Star HR a call.

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