The Federal Government have introduced a Bill to amend various aspects of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (‘the Act’), including the classification and treatment of casual employees. The Bill proposes a statutory definition for ‘casual employees’ focusing on the offer and acceptance of employment. If the Bill is passed, a person will be classified as a ‘casual employee’ under the Act if an offer of employment is made 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. Relevant indicators of casual employment will be the ability of the employer to elect to offer work and for the employee to accept or reject the work, describing the employment as casual, entitlements to casual loading and the employee only working as required. Significantly, the definition is based only on the offer and acceptance and not on the subsequent conduct of either party. In response to the WorkPac v Skene and Workpace v Rossato decisions, the Bill includes provisions for casual loading to be offset against leave entitlements where an employee has been misclassified. Finally, the Bill introduces a statutory obligation for employers to offer certain casual employees full-time or part-time employment unless there are reasonable business grounds not to. Contact M+E for further information.

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