A set of amendments made to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) enforces new employer obligations to ensure greater mobility and certainty of future work for casual employees, who make up 20% of the Australian workforce. The Fair Work Amendment (Supporting Australia’s Jobs and Economic Recovery) Act 2021 (Cth) expands the conversion rights of a causal employee, by allowing them to request being made a permanent full-time or part-time employee, forming a new National Employment Standard (NES) entitlement.
To do this, an employee is required to have worked for their employer for at least 12 months, have worked a regular pattern of hours on an ongoing basis for at least 6 months and could continue working these hours as a permanent employee without significant alteration. Like the new Fair Work obligations surrounding the new timeframe in which benefit agreements must be approved, an employer must respond to a request of acceptance of employment conversion within 21 days regarding whether they will be converting to full-time or part-time, their hours of work for when they convert, and the day the conversion will take effect. The Act also includes provisions for casual loading to be offset against leave entitlements which was accidentally paid when an employee was no longer casual.
Following these changes, employers should revise their casual arrangements and practices so that they comply with the new amendments of the Act. Contact Morgan + English for advice.