Casuals: Should you be a permanent employee?

The changes made to the Fair Work Act on 26 March 2021 gave most casual employees the right to have their employment converted from casual to permanent full time or part time employment.

The obligation is now on employers (15 or more employees) to make an offer to convert their casual employees to permanent employment if the casual employee has worked for the employer for at least 12 months and during the last six months has worked a regular pattern of hours.

An employer cannot dismiss or deliberately change, vary, or reduce a casual employee’s hours to avoid their obligation to offer conversion to permanent employment.

The employer must make a written offer to the casual employee within 21 days of the employee reaching the 12 month anniversary of their employment. There is no obligation on a casual employee to accept the conversion offer.  If the casual employee wants to accept the offer of permanent employment they must do so within 21 days of receiving the conversion offer and their acceptance must be provided to the employer in writing.  A verbal acceptance is not sufficient at law.

There are a number of specified reasons provided for in the Act where an employer may decide not to offer conversion to a casual employee, but the employer must write to the employee within the 21 day period of the 12 month anniversary of employment setting out its reasons for not offering the conversion.

Casual employees employed by small businesses (under 15 employees) have the right at their 12 month anniversary to make a request in writing to their small business employer to have their casual employment converted to permanent.  The employer can agree and must then provide a new contract of employment to the employee.  If the employer wants to refuse the request, they must consult with the employee and then provide in writing the reasonable grounds for refusal.

Most employers do the right thing by their employees.  But when they don’t sometimes legal assistance is required.

If you are a casual employee and have experienced or do experience any of the following:

  1. You have been employed for 12 months or longer, work a regular roster or pattern of work, have not been offered conversion to permanent employment or your employer has decided not to offer you permanent employment without providing reasons or by reasons that don’t seem correct or reasonable; or
  2. You have yet to reach your 12 month anniversary and there is a sudden unexplainable change to your hours of work leading up to the 12 month anniversary of employment; or
  3. you are reaching your 12 month anniversary of employment and your employer dismisses you for no good reason, or reduces your hours of work to zero;

…then Anderson Gray Lawyers may be able to help resolve the issues with your employer or assist you in taking any appropriate legal action to enforce your legal rights.

Please contact us for a free case assessment.  Please note, for any dismissal related matter any application to be made to the Fair Work Commission must be made within 21 days from the date of dismissal.