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Proposed Changes to Casual Employment| Fairwork Online


Proposed Changes to Casual Employment

Right to convert to permanent employment

On 6 July 2017, the Commission decided that 'regular' casual employees should have the right to convert to full-time or part-time employment, subject to some restrictions.

The Commission is in the process of drafting a model clause to be inserted into Modern Awards which will specify that casual employees who have been employed on a regular and systematic basis for at least 12 months will have the right to apply for permanent employment.  However, an employer may refuse such a request on any one of the following grounds:

  • the permanent conversion would require a significant adjustment to the casual employee's hours of work to accommodate them in full-time or part-time employment;
  • it is 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
  • other reasonable grounds exist (based on facts which are known or reasonably foreseeable).

Employers would also be required to provide a copy of the new model conversion clause to all casual employees within their first 12 months of employment. 

New overtime entitlements for casual in some industries

Changes will be made to the following Modern Awards to provide casual employees with entitlements to overtime in certain circumstances.

Hospitality Industry (General) Award, Registered and Licensed Clubs Award and the Restaurant Industry Award - the Commission will vary these three Awards so that casual employees will receive overtime for all time worked in excess of 12 hours per day, or for all hours in excess of 38 hours per week.  Employers will be able to average hours over a roster cycle (provided it is less than four weeks).  The overtime penalty rate will be the same in each Award as it is for full-time employees, except that it will not compound on the casual loading otherwise payable to the employee.

The General Retail Industry Award will be varied so that casual employees will receive overtime payments when working in excess of 38 hours per week, when working outside the span of hours for each day, and when working in excess of 9 hours per day (save that casual employees will be able to work up to 11 hours on one day without attracting overtime rates).

The Fast Food Industry Award will be varied so that casual employees will receive overtime payments when working in excess of 38 hours per week, and when working in excess of 11 hours in a day.

The Hair and Beauty Industry Award will be varied so that casual employees will receive overtime payments when working in excess of 38 hours per week, and when working more than 10.5 hours in a day.

The Horticulture Award will be varied so that casual employees will receive overtime payments when working in excess of 12 hours per day, and when working more than 304 hours over an eight-week period.  

New flexible part-time employment provisions in some industries

The Commission has proposed to make changes to the part-time employment provisions in the Hospitality Industry (General) Award, the Registered and Licensed Clubs Award, and the Restaurant Industry Award to provide more flexible rostering arrangements.

The Commission found that the current part-time provisions in these Awards were unworkable, and so the proposed changes will give employers greater flexibility to roster part-time employees.

The proposed new provisions would allow employers to roster part-time employees for between 8 and 38 ordinary hours per week (averaged over the roster cycle), and agree with employees on a guaranteed number of hours each week, and the 'available window' in which those hours could be worked (i.e. the employee's availability).  The employee would only be able to alter their availability on 14 days' notice.


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