Casual workers in spotlight under new IR laws

WA businesses have been urged to re-examine their workplace contracts after changes to the Fair Work Act came into effect on March 27 redefining the rules around casual work. 

In a provision aimed at addressing ‘double dipping’ by employees seeking both casual loading and paid leave entitlements, a casual worker is now defined as “employed with no firm advance commitment to continuing and indefinite work according to an agreed pattern of work”. 

Casualalso have the right to become a permanent (full-time or part-time) employee, known as casual conversion, under the following circumstances: 

  • For businesses with 15 or more employees, casuals must be offered a permanent role where they have been employed for 12 months and worked a regular pattern of work during the past six months.
  • For businesses with fewer than 15 employees, casuals can request a permanent role if they meet the 12-month and pattern of hours requirement. 

However, this requirement is subject to an exemption based on reasonable grounds. 

For medium and large businesses, a six-month transitional period applies. Small businesses must provide new and existing staff with a copy of the Fair Work Ombudsman Information Statement. 

CCIWA Principal Workplace Relations Advocate Paul Moss said businesses should undertake a workplace relations audit of all casual contracts to ensure they take advantage of the greater certainty provided by the new laws. 

“While the changes remove uncertainty for businesses looking to engage new staff, it’s critical that employers are also aware of their obligations,” he said.

For more, see ‘Casual rule changes: what you need to do now’ in Business Toolbox.

Members can contact CCIWA’s Employee Relations Advice Centre for free help navigating the changes on (08) 9365 7660, or email advice@cciwa.com.

 

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