Casual Conversion – Take action now if you have casual employees

Employers now need to give every new casual employee a Casual Employment Information Statement (the CEIS) before, or as soon as possible after, they start their new job.

The National Employment Standards now include an entitlement for casual employees to become full-time or part-time (permanent) in some circumstances. This is also known as ‘casual conversion’. Simply, if you are not a small business and you employ casual staff, you must take action soon to comply with the new provisions.

Casual employees can become permanent by their employer offering casual conversion or by making a request to their employer for casual conversion. There are eligibility requirements and exceptions that apply and processes that need to be followed.

What is a casual employee?

The Fairwork Act has been amended to include a new definition of a casual employee.  A person is a casual employee if they accept a job offer from an employer knowing that there is no firm advance commitment to ongoing work with an agreed pattern of work. i.e no advertising for casual staff 9-3 Mondays etc.

Casual Conversion

A transitional period is currently in operation, requiring employers to assess all casual employees for conversion by 27 September 2021. However, this does not include casual employees employed after 27 March 2021.

After the transition period, employers will be required to assess casual employees for conversion within 21 days of their 12-month service date. This means that from September 27th onwards, employers will have an ongoing obligation to assess casual employees for conversion into permanent employment.

Your obligation during the transition period:

  • Provide new and existing employees with a copy of the Casual Conversion Clause by September 27, 2021. Penalties exist for businesses who fail to provide this information to their casual employees. For your convenience, we have attached a copy of this notice here.
  • Respond to any conversion requests within 21 days of notification.
  • Update employment contracts
  • Document and save your conversion process

How to legally refuse a request for casual conversion:

It is important to note that the new clause does not mean you have to approve all requests. It is best to double-check the relevant award but generally, the scenarios where you may refuse on reasonable grounds including but not limited to:

  • The conversion would require a significant adjustment to the employee’s hours of work as a full-time or part-time employee;
  • It is known, or reasonably foreseeable that the employee’s position will cease to exist within the next 12 months or the hours of work which the employee is required to perform will be significantly reduced in the next 12 months;
  • The employee’s hours of work will significantly change or be reduced within the next 12 months.

If you are unsure of your obligations regarding casual conversion within your business, we encourage you to get in contact with your contact at PTP as soon as possible.

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