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Employment Law ChangesOctober 31, 2018
Small business owners who employ casual staff now need to consider provisions that allow some casual employees to convert to full-time or part-time work after 12 months of employment.
On 1 October 2018 a new standard conversion clause was incorporated into 85 awards, giving some casual workers the right to request full-time or part-time employment if they have worked certain, regular hours over a 12-month period.
The clause is set to have a major impact on the way small business owners employ, manage and roster casual staff.
“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 the casual employment may be converted to an appropriate form of permanent employment,” said the full Fair Work Commission bench when the clause was first announced, as reported by the ABC.
Business owners in industries that hire large numbers of casual workers, such as hospitality, retail, manufacturing and agriculture are set to be the most impacted by the changes.
The Casual Conversion decision means that casual employees covered by 85 of the modern awards will have the right to request full-time or part-time employment after working as a regular casual for at least 12 months with an employer. It is noted that many modern awards already had casual conversion provisions. 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 in writing 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.
Keep a close eye on how the additional entitlements available to part-time and full-time staff could affect your business. This can be both financial, as well as the additional obligations you need to meet as an employer.
Performance manage under-performing staff
If your casual staff are going to have the right to request part-time or full-time work after 12 months, then you want to make sure they’re the kind of staff you want to keep in your business long-term. If there are any under-performing casual staff in your business, start performance management plans early.
Managing staff, entitlements and potential conversion of casual staff to part-time of full-time employees is a complex process. Don’t do it alone — get professional advice to protect your business.
If you’re not a member of Employsure and you’d like to find out how we can help, book a free meeting with an Employsure representative here.