What are their workplace rights?

Many organisations employ casual employees to help run their business. Casual employees offer flexible working arrangements that can be greatly beneficial to the company and to you as an employer. However, it can sometimes be confusing as to what rights a casual worker has in the workplace. Here are some tips for successfully employing casual staff members.

According to the Fair Work Ombudsman, a casual employee has no guaranteed work hours, often work irregular hours, does not get paid annual leave or sick leave, and can “end work without notice, unless notice is required by a registered agreement, act or employment contract”. Casual employees get a higher rate of pay – known as ‘casual loading’ – due to the fact that they do not receive paid annual or sick leave.

However, did you know that there are different types of casual employees? These can be known as long term casuals. A long term casual employee is a casual employee that has been employed by the employer on a “regular and systematic basis” for a period of at least 12 months, and has reasonable expectation of continued employment by the employer on a regular basis. Long term casuals are also entitled to parental leave, can claim unfair dismissal, and can request flexible working arrangements, which differs from basic casual employees.

The Fair Work Commission case Ponce v DJT Staff Management Services Pty Ltd t/as Daly’s Traffic [2010] highlights the type of evidence that can indicate whether an employee is a long term casual. This can include:

  • The employee is offered work regularly and generally accepted work when it was offered.
  • The total hours that the employee worked were similar to that of a full-time employee.
  • There was the general expectation that the employee would work certain shifts each week, and they did not need to be told they would be required for work in these circumstances.
  • During the period of employment there was a reasonable expectation of ongoing employment having the same pattern as previous employment.

It is important to keep in mind that the entitlements and protections of a long term casual differ to those of other casual employees. When dealing with casuals that have been with your company for 12 months or more, it is vital that you consider their extra entitlements and protections. As an employer, it is in your best interests to negotiate with your casual employees to ensure that the best possible employment outcome is reached for all parties.

For more information on casual employment, contact us on (08) 9316 9896 or visit processworx.com.au.

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