In recent times, the Australian workforce has undergone a process known as casualisation. Close to 2.5 million workers in Australia are working on a casual basis.
Casual employees work on a ‘shift-to-basis’, and NO certainty of ongoing work.
Does your work fall under these indicators?
- No guaranteed hours of work
- Working irregular hours
- No paid sick leave or paid annual leave
- No notice period to end employment
YOUR RIGHTS AS A CASUAL WORKER
Employers must tell you at the beginning of your employment if you are casual or permanent. Did your employer make this clear? If not, you should ask!
As a casual worker, you are entitled to a loading on your hourly rate of pay. Your hourly pay rate should be more than the permanent workers’ doing the same work. Casual employees do not have access to paid sick leave, paid annual (or holiday) leave, or to paid personal or carer’s leave. Hence, time away from work will usually result in a loss of pay.
The casual work relationship should go both ways. If shifts are only casually available, you are not obliged to be always available to your employers. If you are unable to work a shift, you should not be forced to work it. As a casual worker you are not entitled to leave pay or termination notice.
If you earn more than $450 per month and are over 18 years old, you should receive super.
The rate of pay, and the rate of loading are determined by the award or agreement that covers the job. The casual loading is compensation for the lack of paid leave provisions and the insecurity of their employment. Casual workers do not have access to notice of termination or pay in lieu of notice of termination.
August 2018 FULL FEDERAL COURT RULING
Casual employees are now entitled to a safe workplace, freedom from discrimination, long service leave, and parental leave. In some circumstances, they can request to be converted to permanent work.
A Full Federal Court ruling changed the approach to casual employment.
A casual employee now has the right to convert to a full/part-time role.
In Workpac Pty Ltd v Skene, the Full Federal Court found his regular work was inconsistent with a casual engagement. Mr Skene worked regular hours, so he was entitled to annual leave at the end of his employment.
Article 13.6 of Pharmacy Industry Award 2010 states*:
“A regular casual employee is a casual employee who has in the preceding period of 12 months worked a pattern of hours on an ongoing basis which, without significant adjustment, the employee could continue to perform as a full-time employee or part-time employee under the provisions of this award.”
In other words, if you work regular hours for 12 months or more, you can convert to full/part-time.
Please note: A casual wage does NOT determine casual employment. It is rather, the nature of work and employee-employer relationship.
If you have been working regular shifts in the same job casually, you might be eligible to request conversion to permanent work. Permanent conversion clauses are contained in awards and agreements. To find out what entitlements apply to your job, you should refer to the instrument that covers you.
You are able to take advantage of basic entitlements that many take for granted. These include sick leave and annual leave. This breakthrough helps professionals who have little bargaining power in the workplace.
If you’re under a casual employment contract, you should revisit it.
We know this can be difficult, but we are here to support you.
Workplace Advice & Support helps our members better understand the terms of the contract. They can also help approach the conversation to convert to full/part-time roles. Log your issue with My dashboard.
If you’re not a member, JOIN NOW and we can provide you with advice on your current situation.
This publication is general information only and is not intended to be used as legal advice or a substitute for legal advice. If you need assistance, please contact the Workplace Advice & Support team by calling 1300 27 37 62 or emailing email@example.com
*01/03/19: This article was amended to reflect a determination by the Fair Work Commission. On 28/02/19, a casual conversion clause was added to the Award