Reminder: What employers need to know about new casual conversion requirements
Pursuant to recent amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (the Act) regarding casual employment, employers are required to make assessments on existing casual employees who may be eligible for permanent employment, and therefore have the right to convert their employment conditions accordingly.
27 September 2021 was the nominated deadline under the March 2021 amendments to the Act. By this date, employers were obligated to take certain action regarding the new casual conversion laws. Specifically, by that time employers were required to either:
- make a written offer to the causal employee to convert their employment to permanent employment; or
- advise the casual employee in writing the reasons why an offer to convert to permanent employment will not be made.
Casual employees must satisfy eligibility requirements to be entitled to the conversion of their employment. The employee will satisfy the eligibility requirements if:
- the employee has been employed with the employer for a minimum of 12 months; and
- the employee has worked a regular pattern of hours on an ongoing basis for a minimum of 6 months and could continue working these hours as a full-time or part-time employee without significant adjustment on the part of the employer.
Employers are not required to make an offer of casual conversion if it can be demonstrated that there are reasonable grounds for not doing so. The Act does not define ‘reasonable grounds’, however, examples may include circumstances where the employee’s position will not exist in 12 months’ time, the employee’s ordinary hours and days of work will significantly change in the next 12 months, and where the employer would have to make significant adjustments to the casual employee’s working hours for them to be employed on a permanent basis.
In the event a decision is made by the employer not to offer casual conversion, the employee must be advised as to the reason why, including any reasonable grounds for reaching the decision or eligibility criteria which has not been satisfied by the employee. Eligible casual employees have 21 days to respond to any offers of conversion. Upon acceptance of the conversion, the employer will have a further 21 days to finalise the change in the employee’s employment.
Have you missed the deadline?
If you have not yet assessed your casual employees in relation to these new obligations, this should be rectified as soon as possible. Failure to do so could potentially result in the employer being subject to penalties for a breach of the National Employment Standards.
Norman Waterhouse is available to assist employers navigate this process.
For more information, or should you require advice in relation to any of the above, please contact Sathish Dasan on +61 8 8217 1253 or email@example.com, Ganesh Krishnan on +61 8217 1395 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Anastasia Gravas on +61 8217 1331 or email@example.com.