Casual employment: All employers need to know about recent changes and possible claims

SmartCompany, February 26, 2019

Casual employees are often hired by employers to supplement their workforce where they may require work to be performed on an intermittent and ad-hoc basis. The renewed focus on casual employment in 2018 serves to remind employers about the need to actively manage casual employment arrangements.

In this post, we step employers through the true nature of casual employment, recent developments and remind employers about key issues associated with casual employees.

With the renewed focus on the nature of casual employment, it is timely for employers to examine the casual employment arrangements that they may have in place.

Employers should firstly conduct an audit of their casual workforce and assess whether these employees are appropriately classified as casuals. If they are regular and systematic casuals, employers should assess whether it is more appropriate for them to be employed as part-time or full-time employees.

A review of casual employment contracts should be undertaken to ensure that casual engagements are appropriately described, including, for example, that employment will be on an ad hoc basis and separately identifying the casual loading to be paid to compensate for paid leave entitlements.

Employers should also familiarise themselves with the new and changing entitlements under modern awards, including, for example, the new two-hour minimum engagement period for casual employees which has been inserted into awards that did not previously have minimum daily engagement periods, and any penalty rates changes and their interaction with casual loading.

Employers should also be prepared for dealing with casual conversion requests, including the obligation to notify casual employees of their right to request conversion and responding to requests by casual employees for conversion to full-time or part-time employment.