New “Casual Worker” Rules in Australia Effective in September

June 18, 2021

Global employers operating in Australia have until September 27 to implement changes to comply with new "casual employment" regulations.  HR Policy Global will facilitate a July call on this topic to discuss how employers plan to review current arrangements and make decisions on their conversion plan for casual workers prior to the deadline.

New definition of casual workers and casual conversion:  The new definition added into the Fair Work Act last year states that a casual worker is someone who "accepts a job offer, knowing that there is no firm advance commitment to ongoing work with an agreed pattern of work."  However, many long-term casual workers remain in insecure employment even if they have continued to work in the same pattern and duration as their permanent counterparts.  

To solve those concerns, employers must make an offer for their casual worker to become permanent if:

  • The casual worker has worked for the same employer for at least 12 months,
  • They’ve worked in a regular pattern of hours for at least 6 of those months, and
  • They continue to work those hours as a permanent employee without significant changes.

Deadline is September 27:  The new amendments require employers to review and offer a written conversion to their existing casual workers who are eligible prior to September 27.  Workers have 21 days to respond and are entitled to request a conversion again in six months, if the initial offer is declined.  After September 27, employers need to provide a "Casual Employment Information Statement" to all casual workers, who can request a conversion any time if they are eligible. 

Employers should carefully consider a new hire’s employment contract to truly reflect their work pattern and assignment, which applies to contractors as well.  Further, employers should continually monitor a casual worker’s employment situation to determine whether they meet the conditions for conversion to a permanent position.