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Updates on Casual Employment: Get the Lowdown!

Changes Effective from 26 August 2024


We’re shaking things up in the world of casual employment with some important updates to the Fair Work Act. Here's what you need to know:


What Makes a Casual Employee?


Under the new definition, an employee is considered casual if:


  • There’s no firm advance commitment to ongoing and indefinite work, taking into account factors like the real substance and true nature of the employment relationship.

  • They’re entitled to receive a casual loading or specific casual pay rate.


Casual employees will stay casual until their status changes through:


  • A conversion process or Fair Work Commission order, or

  • Accepting an alternative employment offer and starting work on that basis.


Existing casual employees as of 26 August 2024 will retain their casual status unless they transition to permanent employment.


Firm Advance Commitment


Whether there's a firm advance commitment to continuing and indefinite work depends on:


  • The real substance, practical reality, and true nature of the employment relationship.

  • Additional factors such as whether:

  • The employer can offer or not offer work to the employee.

  • The employee can accept or reject work.

  • It's reasonably likely there will be future work available.

  • Full-time or part-time employees are performing similar work.

  • The employee has a regular pattern of work.


Fixed-Term Contracts


Casual employees can generally be hired on fixed-term contracts, except for:


  • Academic or higher education teaching staff covered by specific awards and not state public sector employees.


Casual to Permanent Employment (Casual Conversion)


Starting 26 August 2024, eligible casual employees can notify their employer of their intention to change to permanent employment if:


  • They’ve been employed for at least 6 months (or 12 months for small business employers).

  • They believe they no longer meet the new casual definition.


Employees can’t notify their intention to change if:


  • They’re in an ongoing dispute about casual conversion.

  • Their employer refused a previous notification within the last 6 months.


Employer’s Response to Casual Conversion


Employers must consult with employees before responding in writing within 21 days, either accepting or refusing the change. If accepted, the response must detail the new employment status, hours of work, and when the change takes effect.


Disputes About Casual Conversion


Unresolved disputes can be taken to the Fair Work Commission, which will first try to resolve informally through mediation or conciliation, and if necessary, through formal arbitration resulting in a legally binding decision.


Casual Employment Information Statement (CEIS)


Starting 26 August 2024, employers must provide the CEIS to new casual employees before or soon after they start, and to all casual employees as follows:


  • Non-small business employees: as soon as possible after 6 months, 12 months, and every subsequent 12 months.

  • Small business employees: as soon as possible after 12 months of employment.


Stay informed and make sure you’re up to date with these changes to ensure compliance and smooth transitions for your casual employees!


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