Casual Conversion – What You Need to Know

Does your business employ casual staff? After the recent changes most Modern Awards, you may now be required to consider converting them to permanent employees.

Casual conversion is where casual employees are given the right, subject to certain prerequisites, to request a full time or part time position after a certain period of employment.

 

Franchisees and other business owners who employ casual staff now need be aware of a new clause added to most Modern Awards that provides the right to some casual workers the right to request full-time or part-time employment if they have worked regular hours over a 12-month period. Many modern awards already had casual conversion provisions.

To be eligible to request casual conversion, a casual employee must be a regular casual employee, i.e. they must have worked:

  • for a period of 12 months or more; and
  • a pattern of hours on an ongoing basis, which the employee could continue to perform as a full-time employee or part-time employee (as applicable), without significant adjustment.

Effectively it gives an employee the ability to ‘convert’ casual employment to part-time or full-time employment and receive all the entitlements that follow.

Employers can refuse the request on reasonable grounds, including that it would require a significant adjustment to a casual employee’s hours of work or they could foresee their position would no longer exist in the next 12 months. Any request, whether it is declined or accepted, must be responded to in writing within 21 days of the request being made. The requirements and grounds for refusal vary across Modern Awards and should be reviewed in the applicable award.

 

What you should do if you are an employer of casual employees:

  1. Check the applicable Modern Award or enterprise agreement to determine your obligations;
  2. Provide all existing casual employees with a copy of the casual conversion clause and the procedure for lodging requests by 1 January 2019;
  3. Within the first 12 months of their employment, provide new casual employees with a copy of the casual conversion clause and the procedure for lodging requests;
  4. Establish new processes to ensure compliance with casual conversion clauses; and
  5. Review your casual workforce every 12 months to determine whether any long term casuals should otherwise be converted to permanent employment.