As part of the ongoing four-review of modern awards, the Fair Work Commission recently decided to include a standardised casual conversion clause in modern awards.
Effective from 1 October 2018 regular casual employees may request that their employment be converted to full-time or part-time.
A regular casual employee is considered to be an employee who has over a period of 12 months, worked a pattern of hours on an ongoing basis which, without significant adjustment, could continue to perform as a full-time or part-time employee.
So what does this mean?
- A casual employee who has worked an average of 38 or more hours per week over a period of 12 months may request to convert to full-time employment.
- A casual employee who has worked an average of less than 38 hours per week over a period of 12 months may request to convert to part-time employment.
- The request must be provided to the employer in writing.
- An employer may agree or refuse a casual employee’s request to convert to full-time or part-time employment. If an employer is refusing the request, it must be on reasonable grounds.
What are reasonable grounds to refuse a request?
Reasonable grounds for refusing a request include:
- It would require a significant adjustment to the casual employee’s hours of work in order for the employee to be engaged as full-time or part-time in accordance with the provisions of the modern award;
- It is known, or reasonably foreseeable that the casual employee’s position will cease to exist within the next 12 months;
- It is known or reasonably foreseeable that the casual employee’s hours of work will be significantly reduced in the next 12 months; or
- It is known or reasonably foreseeable that there will be a significant change in the days and/or times at which the casual employee’s hours of work are required to be performed in the next 12 months, which cannot be accommodated within the days and/or hours during which the employee is available to work.
If an employer refuses a request to convert, the employer must provide the casual employee with their reasons for refusal within 21 days of the request being made.
What do employers need to do?
- If you employ casual workers, you should review the applicable modern award and determine your obligations. You may wish to review current or implement a new workplace procedure to ensure compliance.
- Provide any current casual employees with a copy of the casual conversion clause within the applicable modern award, by 1 January 2019.
- Provide any new casual employees with a copy of the casual conversion clause within the applicable modern award within the first 12 months of the employee’s first engagement.
If you need assistance in determining whether casual conversion provisions affect your business, or if you need assistance responding to requests for conversions, contact our team of experienced HR Consultants at Preston HR today on 4052 0709.