The Federal Government introduced several changes to workplace laws earlier this year, including the requirement to consider converting casual employees to permanent employees. Importantly, under the Fair Work Act 2009, employers must assess whether to make an offer for casual conversion by 27 September 2021. This article provides a summary of the changes and outlines the process for casual conversion for employers.
Who is a casual employee?
A casual employee is a person who accepts an employment offer knowing that there is no firm advance commitment to ongoing work or an agreed pattern of work.
What does ‘no firm advance commitment’ mean?
There are only four factors to determining whether an employer made ‘no firm advance commitment’ to ongoing work or an agreed pattern of work. These are:
- whether you can choose to offer the employee work and it is the employee’s choice to work or not;
- whether the employee is offered work when the business requires it;
- if employment is described as casual; and
- if the employee is paid casual loading or casual rates.
Importance of 27 September 2021 for casual conversion
By 27 September 2021, employers must assess whether to make an offer of conversion to casual employees who began working for them before 27 March 2021.
- If the employee is eligible, a written offer of casual conversion must be provided to them within 21 days of making the assessment. The employee must respond in writing within 21 days of the offer being made.
- If the employee is not eligible, you must tell them in writing no later than 27 September 2021.
What if the employee started after 27 March 2021?
If the employee began working for you on or after 27 March 2021 and is eligible for casual conversion, you have within 21 days after their 12-month anniversary to provide them with a conversion offer. The employee must respond in writing within 21 days of the offer being made.
If the employee is not eligible for casual conversion, you must notify them in writing within 21 days of their 12-month anniversary.
Which employees must be offered casual conversion?
An employee must be offered casual conversion if:
- they have been employed by you for at least 12 months;
- they have worked a regular pattern of hours for at least the last 6 months on an ongoing basis; and
- their regular hours could continue as a permanent employee without significant changes.
An employee does not have to be offered casual conversion if:
- there are reasonable grounds to not offer casual conversion; or
- they are not eligible to be converted.
Notably, small business employers (less than 15 employees) do not have to offer casual conversion to employees.
What should I do next?
- Businesses must assess their casual employees to determine whether to make an offer of casual conversion.
- If the employee is not eligible for casual conversion, employers must notify them of this in writing.
- If the employee is eligible for casual conversion, employers should begin making written offers of permanent employment.