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Casual Conversion Clauses - Are you Ready?

The Fair Work Commission have announced that the implementation of the model casual conversion clause (which will provide eligible casual employees with the right to request to convert to part-time or full-time employment) will come into effect from 1 October 2018. 

The model award clause, which is being incorporated into 85 modern awards, will provide that a person engaged as a regular casual employee may request that their employment be converted to full-time or part-time employment.

A ‘regular casual employee’ is a casual employee who:

  • has in the preceding period of 12 months worked a pattern of hours on an ongoing basis, and 
  • which, without significant adjustment, could continue to be performed as a full-time employee or part-time employee under the provisions of the award.

Any request for conversion must be made in writing. An employer may only refuse such a request on reasonable grounds and following consultation with the employee. Reasonable grounds for refusal of a conversion request may include that:

  • it would require a significant adjustment to the casual employee’s hours of work in order for the employee to be engaged as a full-time or part time employee
  • 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 which the regular casual employee is required to perform will be significantly reduced in the next 12 months; or
  • 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.

Where an employer refuses an eligible casual employee’s request to convert, they must provide the casual employee with the reasons for refusal in writing within 21 days.

The model conversion clause does not oblige a regular casual employee to convert to full-time or part-time employment, nor does it permit an employer to require a regular casual employee to convert. Similarly, an employer will not be required to increase the hours of a regular casual employee who is seeking conversion to full-time or part-time employment.

What action needs to be taken?
From the 1st October 2018, you will be required to provide a casual employee (regardless of whether they are a regular casual employee or not), with a copy of the conversion provisions contained within the applicable Award within the first 12 months of their engagement.

A copy of the provisions must be provided to any casual employees who are already employed as at 1 October 2018, by no later than 1 January 2019.

A casual employee must not be engaged and re-engaged, or have their hours reduced or varied, in order for an employer to avoid any right or obligation for conversion under the Award.

There is no change to the 28 Modern Awards which already contain a casual conversion term.

If you have any questions regarding casual conversion and your obligations under an applicable award, please contact a member of our HR Advisory Team on 1300 720 004 or via email at advice@hradviceonline.com.au

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