This week the Fair Work Commission has made the decision to give casual workers the right to request permanent employment after 12 months of employment, in a move that gives casuals more job security and other benefits, such as paid sick leave and the ability to take recreational leave without fear of endangering future employment. The news comes shortly after the reduction of penalty rates across five awards came into effect on 1 July 2017.
How does it work?
The decision by the workplace umpire states that “if the casual employment turns out to be long-term in nature, and to be of sufficient regularity … then we consider it to be fair and necessary for the employee to have access to a mechanism by which causal employment may be converted to an appropriate form of permanent employment”. This means that if an employee has steady and regular hours equivalent to that of a full or part time employees they can request a permanent role. However, the employer can refuse the request if;
- It would require a significant adjustment to the casual employee’s hours of work to accommodate them in full-time or part-time employment,
- or it is known or reasonably foreseeable that the casual employee’s position will cease to exist, or the employee’s hours of work will significantly change or be reduced within the next 12 months,
- or on other reasonable grounds based on facts which are known or reasonably foreseeable.
Who does it affect?
The decision relates to 85 modern awards which do not already have a provision in them to this effect of a ‘casual conversion’. The awards affected by this latest development include hospitality, retail, manufacturing & farming.
Furthermore, the Fair Work Commission has decided that casuals in 34 modern awards which do not have a minimum shift length already written into them will now no longer be called into work for less than 2 hours. This is a reduction on the initial plea for a 4 hour minimum shift for casuals & part-Timers, due to what the FWC saw as a possible “counterproductive result of reducing workforce participation and social inclusion”, as well as fears it could “inhibit flexible modern work practices and the efficient and productive performance of work”.
The full decision can be found on the Fair Work Commission’s website, here;