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More and more businesses are relying on casual employees, mainly due to the flexibility it affords. However, when engaging casual employees, employers need to ensure they are aware of all their obligations under the Fair Work Act.
What does “casual” mean?
While the courts have generally been reluctant to provide a definition of a casual employee, they have concentrated on the manner in which casual employees are employed.
The Court, whilst hearing a case in 2010, suggested, “A characteristic of engagement on a casual basis is, in my opinion that the employer can elect to offer employment on a particular day or days and when offered, the employee can elect to work. Another characteristic is that there is no certainty about the period over which the employment of this type will be offered. It is the informality, uncertainty and irregularity of the engagement that gives it the characteristic of being casual.”
Entitlements of casual employees under the Fair Work Act
The Fair Work Act 2009 (the Act) provides casual employees with a range of entitlements including:
In addition, regular and systematic casual employees who have a reasonable expectation of continuing employment are entitled to:
What does “regular and systematic” mean?
Regular and systematic is not defined in the Act though courts and tribunals have tended to give this term a broad meaning. The Fair Work Commission made a number of observations about the meaning, including:
Implications for employers
Employers need to take care when engaging employees on a casual basis, ensuring the employment relationship does not transform into a permanent one. When looking at employees employment status, or when employing new staff, consider:
If the is answer yes, you may need to consider employment status’ and your adherence to your employment obligations.
Employsure can help determine your obligations when it comes to employing staff. We can advise on the correct entitlements for any staff, provide compliant contracts and assist if you find yourself in any type of employment dispute. Call 1300 651 415 today.