Understanding How Casuals can Convert to Permanent Jobs
Many casual employees are now able to convert to permanent full-time or part-time employment under certain conditions of their employment, as RMB Lawyers Partner CHRIS SHEPPARD explains::
The terms of employment for the vast majority of Australians are governed by what are known as Modern Awards – legal documents that contain rates of pay and conditions of their employment.
Modern Awards apply to all employees covered by the national workplace relations system. They are industry or occupation-based and apply to employers and employees who perform work covered by the award.
According to the Fair Work Ombudsman’s Office, there are more than 100 industry Modern Awards in Australia,
On 1 October 2018, most Modern Awards were amended to include a new provision which grants eligible casual employees an entitlement to convert from casual employment to permanent full-time or part-time employment.
Whether or not an employee has this option will depend on his or her length of service and the pattern of casual hours worked.
It is important that both employers and employees understand the Award that applies to them.
However, in general terms, employers have a responsibility to:
- identify the Modern Award which applies to their employees
- be aware of the casual conversion clause contained in the Award
- comply with the clause by providing the compulsory notice to employees.
Then, if an eligible employee wants to convert to full-time or part-time employment, the employer must either grant it or decide there are reasonable grounds to refuse the request.
For employees, your employer must:
- inform you of the Modern Award which applies to you
- give you written notice of the new casual employment conversion clause
- inform you in writing if you have an entitlement to convert to permanent part-time or full-time employment.
Should you want to convert to full-time or permanent part-time employment, you must inform your employer in writing and negotiate the change to your conditions.
It is important that both employees and employers address this issue as soon as possible as various time limits apply to some of these issues.
If employers do not comply with their obligations under the Award, there is a risk that they could be prosecuted. Substantial penalties include fines of up to $22,000 can apply.
RMB Lawyers can assist employers and employees to ensure that their casual conversion provisions are being complied with. You can contact us. We'll be able to help you via a quick phone call, or ask us a question via email.