Check Your Casual Employees’ Rights to Convert to Permanent Employment

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Currently NatRoad is involved in Fair Work Commission proceedings involving casual employment under the modern transport awards. We are assisting the Commission in its task to ensure modern awards reflect changes introduced by the Government earlier this year in the Fair Work Act.

As part of that change to the legislation, by 27 September 2021 members who employ casuals must have assessed whether those employees may be eligible for conversion to permanent (full-time or part-time) employment.

Casual conversion must be offered to casual employees who have been employed for at least 12 months and who, for at least the last 6 months, worked regular hours on an ongoing basis that could be converted to full-time or part-time hours without significant adjustment. There may be “reasonable business grounds” which can be relied upon not to offer conversion to a part-time or full time role.

An employer who decides to not offer permanent employment is required to provide written notice of this fact within a set time period. That document must set out details of the reasons relied on for not making the offer. This is then a matter which may be taken to a dispute process.

Similarly, if an employer believes that the employee is not eligible for conversion (that is they haven’t worked regular and systematic pattern of hours), they are required to provide written notice setting out details of why they believe the employee is not eligible, again within a fixed time frame.

When engaging casual employees it is also important that they receive two required forms. First is the Fair Work Information Statement (required for all employees); secondly, casual employees must also be given a Casual Employment Information Statement before or as soon as practicable after commencing employment.

Failure to provide either statement attracts penalties of up to $66,000 (for a corporation) as well as penalties for persons involved in the contravention.

NatRoad is happy to advise further on this issue and also to conduct a review of members’ casual contracts on a small fee-for-service basis.