Converting Casual Employees to Permanent

24 September 2018

The Fair Work Commission has handed down a new determination that will impact ACA members with regular casual employees.

The ACA encourages member practices to familiarise themselves with the new casual conversion clause and to ensure that they understand and meet their new obligations.

From 1 October, the Architects Award, Clerical Award and Miscellaneous Award (Interior Design) will include a new casual conversion clause. This gives casual employees the right to request to become permanent full-time or part-time employees if they have worked regular and systematic hours for the previous 12 months. 

For example, if an architect is employed as a casual and works 38 hours per week on average over 12 months they are eligible to become a full-time permanent employee. A casual architect working an average of 30 hours in a regular pattern is eligible to become a permanent part-time employee.

The clause is effective from the first full pay period from 01 October 2018 and employees must put such requests in writing. 

Note: the Graphic Arts and Manufacturing Awards already contain casual conversion clauses, which allow requests to be made after six months.

Casuals currently receive a 25% loading. Should they elect to take on a full-time or part-time role, their salary or wage will reduce by 25% as the loading, which compensates for annual leave and personal leave. 

What are your obligations as an employer? 

Employers must provide casual employees with a copy of the new clause within 12 months of their first engagement.

Existing casual employees must be provided with a copy of the conversion clause by 1 January 2019. The clause will be available within the relevant awards in October.

Where a request is approved, this must be recorded in writing and will start at the beginning of the next pay cycle.

A request can only be refused if there are reasonable grounds to do so, and this can only occur after consultation with the employee. The grounds for refusal must be communicated in writing within 21 days of the request being made.

Reasonable grounds for refusal include:

  • Engaging the employee as a full-time or part-time employee would require a significant adjustment to the casual employee’s hours of work;
  • It is known or reasonably foreseeable that the regular casual employee’s position will cease to exist within the next 12 months;
  • It is known or reasonably foreseeable that the hours of work will be significantly reduced in the next 12 months;
  • It is known or reasonably foreseeable that there will be a significant change in the days and/or times at which the employee’s hours of work are required to be performed in the next 12 months, which cannot be accommodated within the days and/or hours during which the employee is available to work.

The new clause can be accessed on the Fair Work Commission website.

Revised versions of the awards can be accessed here