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Transitioning Casuals to Permanent

Do you employ Casual staff in your business?

Back in March, the Fair Work Act was amended to change the workplace entitlements for Casual employees (see our earlier blog here).

The biggest of these changes was the pathway for Casual employees to become Permanent employees at the 12-month anniversary of their start date, called Casual Conversion.

And it applied to any employee who started in their job from 27 March 2021, so we are coming up the 12-month mark from that date now.

If you are a small business (that is any business with less than 15 staff), you don’t have to do anything. But if you have an eligible employee they may request it and you would be required to respond.

So a reminder of what makes an employee eligible:

  • Have worked with you for at least 12 months of continuously

  • Have worked a regular & systematic pattern of hours on an ongoing basis for at least the last 6 months

  • Be able to continue working these hours as a full-time or part-time employee without significant changes to your business

What do I have to do?

If you have an eligible employee, at their 12-month anniversary you will need to assess their hours and eligibility to proceed to Permanent Part or Full Time. You also need to let them know the outcome in writing (unless you are a small business).

Don’t worry – you do not have to offer permanent employment unless your business is in a position to do so. Some examples of reasons why your business might not be in a position to offer permanent hours:

  • in the next 12 months:

  • the position won’t exist

  • their hours will significantly reduce; or

  • their days/times of work will significantly change

  • COVID lockdowns have impacted the business and/or the employee’s role so their past 6-12 months are not a true indication of their working patterns and/or business performance

  • making the offer would not comply with a recruitment or selection process required by law

  • you would have to make a significant adjustment to provide permanent hours

What do I offer?

The permanent employment offer should be based on the employee’s work pattern prior to conversion, for example:

  • if they’ve worked 38 hours a week consistently for at least the last 6 months you would offer Full-Time, or

  • if they’ve worked between 15-20 hours a week consistently over the last 6 months you would offer Part-Time at perhaps 15 hours per week

What if my employee requests it?

In this case you would be required to respond (within 21 days) using the same criteria as above.

Similarly, if you’re declining to make an offer, the employee again has the option to raise this request again up to every 6 months. Again, you would need to respond in writing (within 21 days) using the same criteria as above. Casual Conversion is a complex new change, but you don’t need to navigate it alone. If you would like advice or guidance on your specific situation, please get in touch.