In brief 3 min read
The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has issued guidance regarding the recent amendments to casual employment in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).
- As set out in the guidance, by 27 September 2021, employers (of more than 15 employees) must assess whether any existing casuals employed before 27 March 2021 are eligible to convert to permanent employment. Within 21 days of conducting that assessment (but before 27 September 2021), the employer must (in writing) make an offer to the employee of permanent employment or explain why such an offer cannot be made.
- As soon as possible after 27 September 2021, employers (of more than 15 employees) must provide casual employees with a copy of the FWO's Casual Employment Information Statement.
To be eligible for casual conversion, an employee:
- needs to have worked a regular pattern of hours on an ongoing basis for at least the last six months; and
- needs to have been employed by the employer for at least 12 months; and
- could continue working these hours as a full-time or part-time employee without significant changes.
An employer can only refuse to make an offer of permanent employment to an employee who is eligible for casual conversion if the employer has 'reasonable grounds'.
Reasonable grounds for not making an offer of permanent employment include:
- in the next 12 months, the employee's position won't exist;
- the hours the employee is required to work will be significantly reduced;
- there will be a significant change to the days/times the employee is required to work which cannot be accommodated by the days/time the employee is available to work, or
- making the offer would not comply with a recruitment or selection process required by federal or state legislation.
The guidance explains when a casual can make a subsequent request for casual conversion, after having been offered permanent employment or refused casual conversion on reasonable grounds.
Casual Employment Information Statement
The FWO's Casual Employment Information Statement contains information about the definition of a casual employee, the requirements around offering and accepting casual conversion, and the role of the Fair Work Commission in disputes concerning casual conversion. The statement can be provided to employees in person, by mail or, with the employee's agreement, by email.
See our Insight The skinny on the skinny IR Omnibus for more information about the recent amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).