Casual Conversion Compliance in 5 easy steps
Under most modern awards, a “regular casual employee” can request to convert their employment if they have worked:
- for a period of 12 months or more; and
- a pattern of hours on an ongoing basis, which the employee could continue to perform as a full-time employee or part-time employee (as applicable), without significant adjustment.
The casual employee must put their request to convert in writing.
STEP 1 – Provide new and existing award-covered employees with a copy of the casual conversion clause
Ensure you read the award that applies to your employees carefully. Some awards contain more onerous requirements on employers to notify casual employees of their right to request casual conversion at 6 or 12 months of ‘regular and systematic’ casual employment. This means you will need to be keeping a close eye on any casual employees that are reaching these milestones. Once you have checked your award you can notify your employees regarding the casual conversion clause. You can use our Notification of Casual Conversion Clause. Also, copy the applicable section from the Award and staple to the back of the letter.
You will need to provide the clause within 12 months of their employment commencing.
Shortly after the Notification of Casual Conversion Clause, you will send a follow-up letter that sets out the nature of a casual and that of a perm employee as well as the rates of pay for both. Also included is the Casual Conversion Election Form where the employees can advise if they wish to convert.
Employees have 4-weeks to consider if they would like their employment converted to permanent employment or remain as a casual.
STEP 2: Respond to any casual conversion requests
Respond to any requests to convert to permanent in writing within 21 days to accept or reject the employee’s request for conversion. You can only reject a request convert to permanent in accordance with the terms of the relevant award. Sometimes an award will include the ‘reasonable grounds’ on which you can refuse a request.
legally responding to requests for casual conversion
Your business must comply with the obligations contained in any casual conversion clause in a modern award, this includes:
- Providing new and existing casual employees with a copy of the casual conversion clause;
- Responding to any request to convert within 21 days;
- If you reject a request, complying with the requirements in the relevant award such as rejecting the request on ‘reasonable grounds’ or ‘not unreasonably refusing’ a request;
- If you agree to convert a casual to permanent employment, complying with the provisions of any part-time employment clause in the relevant award and providing the employee with set days, hours, and patterns of work (and a new contract of employment).
How to legally refuse the request for casual conversion
It is important to note that the new clause does not mean you have to approve all requests. It is best to double-check the relevant award but generally, the scenarios where you may refuse on reasonable grounds including but not limited to:
- The conversion would require a significant adjustment to the employee’s hours of work as a full-time or part-time employee;
- It is known, or reasonably foreseeable that the employee’s position will cease to exist within the next 12 months or the hours of work which the employee is required to perform will be significantly reduced in the next 12 months;
- The employee’s hours of work will significantly change or be reduced within the next 12 months.
STEP 3: Review your existing workforce
Review the use of casual employment in your business, particularly where the arrangement involves long-term, regular work patterns. We recommend that you consider doing a cost analysis between that of the cost of wages for casual employees compared to that of Perm employees.
The 25% loading is designed to compensate employees for not receiving some of the benefits of perm employees as well as for the insecurity of their employment. You may well find that the bottom-line figure is more favorable to employee permanent employees compared to casual.
STEP 4: Update your employment contracts
Update your employment contracts and ensure you at least include provisions that make clear that the position of casual;-
- has no guaranteed hours of work;
- will usually work irregular hours;
- has no sick or annual leave entitlements
- They are not obligated to always be available; and
- can have their employment ended without notice, unless notice is required by a registered agreement, award, or employment contract.
We have casual employment contracts/ agreements available and highly recommend that if you have not done so in the last 12-24 months updated these then you do so.
STEP 5: Document and save the casual conversion process
“If it isn’t written down, then it didn’t happen”.
ALWAYS protect yourself and the business by ensuring that you keep documentation about any changes to workplace relationships. Keep these documents for at least 7-years so that any retrospective claims can be defended with copies of the clear and documented process.
Recent decisions impacting on Casual employment
In WorkPac Pty Ltd v Rossato  FCAFC 84 the Full Federal Court determined that Mr Rossato had entitlements under the National Employment Standards (NES) in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) and the relevant Enterprise Agreement; These were – being paid annual leave, paid personal/carer’s leave, paid compassionate leave, and payment for public holidays. This came about when the court made the finding that Mr Rossato was not a casual but a permanent employee.
The essential question asked was – “ if an employee agrees to a contract that labels them a casual but their work is systematic (rostered well in advance for example) and regular (set hours and days) and longer-term (happening for years) are they still a casual?”
In the WorkPac decision, the Federal Court says NO
If you have questions then please feel free to reach out to us or you can pop over and check out our article posted June 4th 2020 https://www.freshhrinsights.com.au/casuals-what-we-need-to-know/
HR Help When You Need it
WOW what can one say at the moment – the situation we are under is one that we have never seen before and it will change the landscape of the world we live in.
I hope that you and your business are doing OK so far or at least able to come out of this once we all have clarity when that will be.
It was positive to hear our Prime Minister this morning (29 March 2020) setting out that – More help will be given to millions of Australians battling the devastating impacts of coronavirus with a $1.1 billion package which boosts mental health services, domestic violence support, Medicare assistance for people at home and emergency food relief.
I have been writing updated articles almost daily and trying to keep businesses abreast of any changes whilst also protecting them from a Fair Work fallout by acting in haste during this time. What we don’t need is a spike in FW claims for unfair dismissal, adverse actions, unlawful dismissal or general protections claims as we all start to recover – and recover we will. I would love it if you could share this with your networks – I also have increased my FREE general consultations – all the info is on my website https://www.freshhrinsights.com.au/ on the front page and also the articles are under the articles section HERE
Working From Home – What you need to know and the associated Policies and Checklist
When you have employees working from home you are still under an obligation as an employer to ensure that the Health and Safety is being looked after. Any injury suffered in the course of employment, including while working from home, is likely to result in a potential exposure to a workers’ compensation claim.
Many businesses that already have working-from-home arrangements in place may not find this a challenging issue. However, for some companies, it may be necessary to take additional steps to determine whether their staff are exposed to risks and, if so, how they will be controlled.
First and foremost – You should not assume that all workers have a separate area in the house where they can set up a work station and safely work without exposing themselves to risks to their health and safety.
BUT How do you assess the risk?
Ensure that you have a working from home policy and Procedures. If you do not have one you can download and adapt the one we have attached HERE – the ergonomics policy that is associated with the working from home policy and procedure can be found HERE
You will also need to ensure that you have taken the appropriate steps to ensure that the employee has a safe working environment – you can use this checklist HERE
What is important right now is that you provide sufficient information and instruction to all your team members that are going to be working from home how they should work safely while at home. In the current circumstances with the Coronavirus (COVID-19), this instruction should take into account the impact on some team members having to look after their children, who are at home due to daycare and school closures as they may happen.
You can convey these instructions in group emails or more detailed one-on-one instruction via virtual meet-ups. Ensure that you check in with your teams regularly as psychological wellbeing will be vital in times of isolation.
To say business owners are in for the challenge of a lifetime is an understatement. Each day what we need to know changes almost by the hour. With so many questions that are yet to be answered, we all need support and guidance as well as that caring and supportive person to listen to us.
Fresh HR Insights Pty Ltd has extended it’s 30-minute FREE general consultation to 60-Minutes for all new business connections.
No strings attached just our way of being there when business owners need us.
We have opened up more available times so jump onto our booking system and book your virtual time.
For any small business to succeed it is important to have the correct policies and procedures put in place that protect both the business and the employee. These HR policies and procedures set guidelines on how to handle a number of issues that may arise in the workplace, even if the workplace is small.
Having a dedicated outsourced HR support team provides direction to employees and governs the rights of both the employer and employee. Running your own small business is no easy feat, it requires a lot of time, resources, finances and well-suited candidates that are able to function in their given roles. Managing all of the above while trying to make a success of your small business can be difficult. It is for this reason that outsourced HR support teams are highly recommended.
Outsourced HR support teams are comprised of skilled professionals that are able to assist your small business with the necessary support and advice that is needed to ensure your business thrives without the need to engage them on your payroll. “There when you need them and not when you don’t”.
Outsourced HR Support Team And The Services They Offer
- Having an outsourced HR team in place ensures that your small business is paying employees according to the required legal standard pay rate, and that employees are paid on time and for overtime. With so many changes in 2020 in regard to the payment of annualized salaries and changes in the reporting requirements it more important than ever to get payments right.
- Outsourced HR teams assist your business to keep updated with legal policies and procedures that govern business- especially in 2020 with so many changes to the Modern Awards – we live and breath HR all day every day and make it our business to have our finger on the pulse of changes.
- The team assists with the termination of employment contracts in a manner that adheres to workplace legislation policies while looking after the interest of both employer and employee. Take the emotions away and ensure that you have a no-bias, totally independent and impartial expert right by your side.
- Unfair dismissal claims can be handled professionally by an outsourced HR team to ensure that the financial implications are controlled – the process can be daunting and overwhelming – have someone on your team that has been through the process and knows what to expect.
- Outsourced HR teams are able to assist with workplace legislation obligations and keep you up to date with changes that are coming into force. The Fair Work Ombudsman is continuously looking at improvements in the way the systems work. Let us keep up to date and you can get on with working on your business
- Outsourced HR teams assist with the hiring of the right person for the right job at the right rate with the help of preferred recruitment providers. We ensure all onboarding procedures cover you in regard to ensuring that all expectations, WHS obligations and workplace culture provisions are covered. Make a GREAT first impression on your new employees.
For any small business to grow successfully, it is important to have an HR team in place and having an outsourced HR team has endless benefits. As the owner of a small business, the main advantage of having a dedicated outsourced HR team in place is that you will be able to focus more on clients and other business operations. Whether you need to retain clients, look for new business or meet with potential clients; having a HR team in place assists you to free up more time to focus on growing your business.
For more information on small business outsourced HR team support on the Gold Coast and how this service can greatly impact your business for the better, visit our website and book your free 30-minute consultation today!