Casual workers will be given the right to convert to part-time or full-time employment

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has handed down a decision which allows for casual employees to request to convert to full-time or part-time employment.

The FWC have developed a draft model clause to be inserted into 85 of the 88 modern awards which do not already contain a casual conversion clause. This clause will allow casual workers to request to convert to permanent employment when:

  • They have remained engaged with their employer for 12 months and
  • They have worked a pattern of hours on an ongoing basis over the 12 month period which could continue to be worked on a full-time or part-time basis without significant adjustment.

Casual workers must make the request to convert to permanent employment. However, employers may refuse these requests if:

  • It would require a significant adjustment to the casual employee’s hours of work to accommodate them in part-time or full-time employment, or;
  • It is known or reasonably foreseeable that the casual employee’s position will cease to exist; or the employee’s hours of work will significantly change or be reduced within the next 12 months; or
  • On other reasonable grounds based on facts which are known or reasonably foreseeable.

Additionally, employers will become obliged to provide a copy of the conversion clause to all casual employees within the first 12 months of their engagement.

How to prepare for this

  • If the proposed conversion model clause is implemented, employers will be obliged to adhere to the changes.
  • Employers should genuinely consider the likely number and type of requests that may be made by casual employees.
  • Consider how a casual conversion into permanent part/full time will impact your business financially.
  • Employers should remind casual staff that the transition will mean they forgo their casual loading.

This is a draft ruling at this stage and no changes are to take effect just yet. Having said that, employers need to be aware of the decision and be prepared when the changes are occur. If you need assistance understanding the impact of this in your organisation please contact us.

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