Download Your Free Checklist: Casual Employee

 

Casual employee entitlements can help ensure fairness across workplaces. This checklist can be used to determine whether a casual employee is likely to be considered a permanent employee.

 
Simply fill in the following form and access your Free Checklist: Casual Employee.
Simply fill in the following form and access your Free Checklist: Casual Employee.

What is the difference between casual workers and permanent employees?

High Performing Teams

A casual employee is not defined under the Fair Work Act, despite casuals being referenced throughout in relation to not being entitled to various forms of paid leave, notice of termination, redundancy pay, public holidays and, in certain circumstances, access to unfair dismissal laws. Employers should note that where a court determines an employee engaged as a casual is in reality a permanent employee, the employer may be ordered to pay backdated entitlements (to annual leave, paid personal/carer’s leave, etc).

The difference between casual employees and permanent employees comes down to entitlements, most commonly noted being that casual employees are not entitled to paid sick leave, and instead have the rights to unpaid carer’s leave, unpaid compassionate leave, and unpaid sick leave. Casual employees may not have ongoing work depending on the contract, and may not have shifts that are on a regular or systematic basis, including irregular hours. A casual is not guaranteed hours per week, as these can change and vary depending on the employment status and contract.

However, unlike most permanent staff, being a casual employee comes with changes to payments. An employer must account for differences in rates of pay by factoring in casual loading when they pay casual employees. An employer may also need to offer more flexible working arrangements to accommodate a casual employee. Ultimately, casual workers are still entitled to safe and fair employment, but may not have the same entitlements of leave or ongoing work as permanent staff.

High Performing Teams

A casual employee is not defined under the Fair Work Act, despite casuals being referenced throughout in relation to not being entitled to various forms of paid leave, notice of termination, redundancy pay, public holidays and, in certain circumstances, access to unfair dismissal laws. Employers should note that where a court determines an employee engaged as a casual is in reality a permanent employee, the employer may be ordered to pay backdated entitlements (to annual leave, paid personal/carer’s leave, etc).

The difference between casual employees and permanent employees comes down to entitlements, most commonly noted being that casual employees are not entitled to paid sick leave, and instead have the rights to unpaid carer’s leave, unpaid compassionate leave, and unpaid sick leave. Casual employees may not have ongoing work depending on the contract, and may not have shifts that are on a regular or systematic basis, including irregular hours. A casual is not guaranteed hours per week, as these can change and vary depending on the employment status and contract.

However, unlike most permanent staff, being a casual employee comes with changes to payments. An employer must account for differences in rates of pay by factoring in casual loading when they pay casual employees. An employer may also need to offer more flexible working arrangements to accommodate a casual employee. Ultimately, casual workers are still entitled to safe and fair employment, but may not have the same entitlements of leave or ongoing work as permanent staff.

Questions that can distinguish a casual worker from part time employees and permanent employment

 

Will the employee be required to work for an indefinite period of time on an ongoing basis?

 

Does the employee work every week (as opposed to there being weeks when they do not work)?

 

Is the employee committed to coming to work for the foreseeable future (as opposed to being free to accept / decline work as they choose)?

 

Does the employee’s contract of employment / letter of offer describe them as a full-time, part-time or permanent employee?

 

Will the employee be required to work for an indefinite period of time on an ongoing basis?

 

Is the employee committed to coming to work for the foreseeable future (as opposed to being free to accept / decline work as they choose)?

 

Does the employee work every week (as opposed to there being weeks when they do not work)?

 

Does the employee’s contract of employment / letter of offer describe them as a full-time, part-time or permanent employee?

Commonly asked questions on casual employment

What is casual employment in Australia, and how does it differ from permanent employment?

Casual employment in Australia is characterised by its irregular work hours and lack of guaranteed ongoing work. Casual employees do not receive paid leave entitlements like annual leave or sick leave, but they are typically paid a higher hourly wage to compensate for this lack of benefits.

Are casual employees entitled to any benefits or job security?

Casual employees have limited job security as they are often employed on an as-needed basis. They do have certain entitlements such as casual loading, which is a higher hourly wage rate to compensate for the absence of paid leave. Additionally, they may be eligible for statutory benefits like superannuation (retirement savings) and workers’ compensation.

Can casual employees be converted to permanent positions, and how does this process work?

Yes, casual employees may be eligible for conversion to permanent employment under some modern awards and agreements. The process typically involves meeting specific criteria such as a minimum period of continuous service and regular, systematic work patterns. Employers are generally required to provide written notice of the opportunity for conversion

How does casual employment affect long-term career prospects and entitlements?

While casual employment offers flexibility, it can limit long-term career prospects and financial security due to the lack of paid leave entitlements and uncertainty in work hours. Some casual employees seek to transition to permanent roles to gain more stability, entitlements, and opportunities for career advancement. However, the decision depends on individual circumstances and preferences.

Need more help?

This checklist is designed to help employers and managers with understanding the differences between casual and permanent staff. All advice is general in nature, for advice specific to your situation, please get in touch with one of our HR Partners.

Our team at Employment Innovations are able to offer tailored workplace advice. If you need any assistance with payroll processing, employment contracts, Modern Awards, enterprise agreements, workplace advice or require access to our full HR document library, contact us to speak with one of our HR experts.

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Download Your Free Checklist: Casual Employee

Download Your Free Checklist: Casual Employee