Extension of conversion rights for casuals

Extension of conversion rights for casuals

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Casual employees will have the right to request to convert to permanent employment subject to certain conditions following the Fair Work Commission’s (FWC) decision to insert a new clause into most modern awards. As part of its 4-yearly review of modern awards, the FWC reasoned that a casual conversion clause would support the fairness and relevance of the National Employment Standards and modern award safety net.

The draft model clause has the following features:

  • Eligible casuals must have worked a pattern of hours over 12 months, which could continue to be performed on a part-time or full-time basis without significant change.
  • Employers can refuse to convert casuals to permanent if it would be a significant adjustment to their hours of work, or if it is reasonably foreseeable that the casual’s position will cease to exist, or their hours of work will significantly change or reduce over the next 12 months, or for other reasonable grounds.
  • Employers will need to provide all casuals – regardless of whether they become eligible for conversion – with a copy of the award’s casual conversion clause at any time in the first 12 months after their initial engagement.

Awards with existing casual conversion clauses will not be varied including the Hospitality Industry Award and Higher Education Industry General Staff Award.

All other awards used by CCER members will be affected except the Educational Services (Post Secondary) Award.

New 2 hour minimum engagement for casuals

The FWC has determined a new 2 hour minimum engagement period for casuals is necessary to avoid their exploitation in 34 modern awards that currently have no such minimum requirement.

For CCER members, affected awards include the Educational Services (Teachers) Award; Miscellaneous Award and the Banking, Finance and Insurance Award.

Other proposed Award changes affecting part time and casual employees
Hospitality Award

To balance the needs of employers and employees, the FWC has proposed to vary the Hospitality Award to allow more flexibility in the rostering of part-time employees, but will require working hours to be allocated only in the periods which the employee has indicated they are available for work.

Overtime has also been extended to casuals and will be payable for all time worked in excess of 12 hours a day, 38 per week or an average of 38 over a roster cycle.

SCHADS Award

In the context of NDIS services, employers’ claims for more flexibility for part-time arrangements under the SCHADS Award were not accepted by the FWC.

The FWC noted its view that existing part time provisions are reasonably flexible as:

  • patterns of work can be changed by agreement to meet temporary or permanent changes in service demand
  • employees can work up to 10 hours in a day or 38 in a week without payment of overtime
  • the Award does not contain a minimum number of hours to be worked per week or day, facilitating short shifts as part of agreed patterns of work which may become an increasingly common feature of the NDIS service model.

However, the FWC did propose to vary the Award to clarify that an agreed part time arrangement does not necessarily have to provide for the same guaranteed number of hours each week.

SCHADS and Aged Care Awards

Employees under the SCHADS and Aged Care Awards can be notified of rosters and any changes to them through any electronic communication including text messages.

Retail Industry Award

The FWC has proposed that casual employees in the retail industry should receive overtime on the same basis as permanent employees on a daily and weekly basis.

Overtime will apply to casuals for hours worked outside the span of ordinary hours, hours in excess of 9 hours per day (and 11 hours on one day per week), hours in excess of 38 per week or an average of 38 over a roster cycle.

Next steps

The FWC is providing interested parties with opportunities to make further submissions and CCER will continue to update members on these proposed changes.

If you have any questions, please contact CCER on (02) 9390 5255 or email enquiries@ccer.catholic.org.au.

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