By Annette Micallef
In June 2020, the Morrison Government formed five industrial relations Working Groups, which were tasked with identifying opportunities for reform to stimulate employment growth.
The outcome of the Working Groups was the Fair Work Amendment (Supporting Australia’s Jobs and Economic Recovery) Bill 2020. The Bill proposed changes in each of the five Working Group areas including:
- Casual and fixed-term employees.
- Award simplification.
- Enterprise Agreement Making.
- Compliance and enforcement.
- Greenfields agreements.
But, this week, only one watered-down Bill was passed through Parliament. The Bill is a stripped-down and vastly reduced version of its original form which proposed reforms in five key areas which intended to overhaul the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act). The only surviving element of the Bill now includes changes to casual employment arrangements.
The definition of casual employment has changed
The Bill now provides a clear definition of casual employment: a casual employee will be deemed to be a casual employee if the employer offers employment to them on the basis that the employer makes no firm advance commitment to continuing and indefinite work according to an agreed pattern of work and that offer is accepted. Importantly, the hours the casual employee works after the employment has started will have no bearing on their casual status. To put it simply, the question of whether a person is a casual employee is assessed on the basis of the offer of employment and acceptance of that offer, not on the basis of any subsequent conduct of either party (including if the casual employee were to work a regular pattern of hours).
More on the casual definition and impacts on businesses can be found in this recent article written by Amanda Curatore, Solicitor at FCB Group (our parent company) and HR Assured.
Practical tools and advice
Casual conversion is an admin-heavy, time-consuming task, and it’s easy to make a mistake if your business isn’t using the right tools. To ensure you don’t miss a deadline and have the right legal templates and processes in place, we recommend that your business invests in a good Human Resources Information System (HRIS). If you’re a client with HR Assured, you’ll have access to everything your business needs to be compliant – happy days!
But if you haven’t got an HRIS system, to help your business understand if it’s compliant with the new legislation, the team at HR Assured has created this guide: Casual Conversion Explained – checklist and flowchart.
Inside this guide you’ll find a range of questions and answers as well as a detailed flowchart to help you understand the casual conversion process.
Need more support?
While the guide we’ve gifted you is excellent, it still doesn’t replace a good HRIS, so we strongly encourage you to review your internal processes and legal templates to ensure your business is protected. If there is any doubt that your business isn’t compliant, and you’d like to test out our service, we’d like to offer your business a no obligation, complimentary 30-minute consultation call. Employers can speak to our friendly workplace relations consultants and seek advice about this new legislation or an existing workplace issue. You can arrange your complimentary consultation here.
Annette Micallef is a Content Marketing Manager and works for FCB Group (HR Assured’s parent company). Annette is an incredibly passionate and enthusiastic marketing communications professional and she is responsible for creating interesting and meaningful content across FCB Group’s businesses. When Annette isn’t creating e-Books, email campaigns and blogs, you can find her in the great outdoors; she loves being surrounded by nature and considers this to be her happy place where she finds inspiration and ideas.