As of September 2021, the Fair Work Act has been amended to include a pathway for casual employees to become permanent (full-time or part time). From 27 September 2021 all employees (other than small business employers with fewer than 15 employees) will need to assess whether any existing casual employees are eligible to be offered to convert to permanent employment.
Additionally, employers now need to give every new casual employee a ‘Casual Employment Information Statement’ (the CEIS) before, or as soon as possible after, the employee starts their new job with the employer.
A casual employee is an individual who has accepted a job offer from an employer with full understanding that there is no firm advance commitment to ongoing work or an agreed schedule of work.
For any casual employees who were employed immediately before 27 March 2021 and whose initial employment offer meet the above definition, employers will need to:
- Make a written offer to convert these casual employees to permanent employment, or
- Write to their employee explaining why they won’t be making an offer
Both of these actions will need to be done within 21 days of making the assessment.
The only reasons that an employer will not have to offer permanent employment are:
(1) The employee hasn’t worked a regular pattern of hours:
- On an ongoing basis for at least the last six months
- Which they could be continue working as a full-time or part-time employee without significant changes
(2) Or the business has reasonable grounds for not making an offer, such as
- The employee’s position won’t exist
- The employee’s hours of work will significantly reduce
- The employee’s days or times of work will significantly change in a way which can’t be accommodated by the employee.
If an employer decides to not make an offer for the casual employee, they must write to the employee within 21 days of the employees 12 month anniversary telling them that they aren’t making them an offer and the reasons for not making an offer.
These new laws do not affect small business employers. If you are unsure whether your organisation qualifies as a small business, or if you have any questions about the new changes to casual employment laws, it is a good idea to get in touch with an employment lawyer to guide you through the process.