A casual employee is one who works on an irregular basis and may or may not be offered work which the employee has the option to refuse.
Sometimes employees are called casuals, however if they have a reasonable expectation that work will continue, or they have worked regular and systematic hours over a long period of time, they may not be considered true casuals in the eyes of the law.
Although a true casual is not entitled to annual leave, sick leave or payment for public holidays not worked, they are often entitled to a casual loading (around 25%). They’re still entitled to superannuation and are covered by workers compensation and anti-discrimination legislation.
A “casual” employees who has worked regular hours for 12 months or longer may be able to make the same types of claims a part or full time employee can make because, arguably, they are not a true casual. This includes, but is not limited to, unfair dismissal claims, claims for long service leave, in addition to claiming annual leave and other entitlements.
If you are in the Federal (Fair Work) system and your company employs less than 15 employees, an employee cannot make an unfair dismissal claim against you within the first 12 months of their employment. If you have more than 15 employees, the time frame is 6 months. This provides employers with the ability to terminate employees within those initial stages of employment if the employee is not meeting expectations.
If there is mutual agreement between employee and employer, there is no reason why a casual cannot become a part or full time employee. It will be important to ensure that any contracts of employment accurately reflect the change.
Many casual employees will prefer to remain casuals, as they like the higher hourly rate and flexibility. Other will be striving for a more permanent role.
Careful consideration must be had to the extent to which you include a reference in a casual employment contract to a casual converting to a part or full time role. It is always important to ensure that one doesn’t promise something that cannot be delivered.
If you have any concerns about casual employment, feel free to contact us!
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