Recent amendments to the Fair Work Act
There is a new statutory definition of ‘casual employee’ from 27 March 2021. There is also an expanded statutory pathway for regular casual employees to convert their employment status to full time. Employers now have an obligation to offer permanent employment in certain circumstances.
Some relief has been granted to employers for underpayment claims from employees incorrectly classified as casual. This addresses instances of ‘double dipping’.
The Fair Work Amendment (Supporting Australia’s Jobs and Economic Recovery) Act 2021 has introduced significant amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 including:
Section 15A provides that a person is a casual employee if they have been offered and have accepted employment on the basis that the employer gave ‘no firm advance commitment to continuing and indefinite work according to an agreed pattern…’.
Conversion to permanent employment
Additionally, for casual employees who fall outside the modern award framework there is a statutory obligation for employers to offer conversion to full or part-time employment, unless there are reasonable business grounds not to do so. This does not apply to small business employers.
Casual Employment Information Statement
Employers must provide casual employees with a Casual Employment Information Statement, before, or as soon as practicable after, they start their employment. This is additional to the Fair Work Information Statement.
Off-setting casual loading to prevent ‘double-dipping’
Employers are provided with relief for underpayment claims from employees incorrectly classified as casual.
Regular casual employee
The previous definition of ‘long term casual’ is replaced with ‘regular casual employee’. The definition relates to the element of employment on a regular and systematic basis, but without any specific time requirement.
By Lawyers keeps you up to date
For further details see the By Lawyers Employment Law publication which has been updated accordingly.