Changes to Casual Employment

The Fair Work Act has been amended to include a:

  • Casual Employment Information Statement
  • Definition of casual employment
  • Pathway for casual employees to become full-time or part-time (permanent).

Changes that will most likely affect you:

By 27 September 2021, employers (other than small businesses) need to assess whether their existing casual employees are eligible to be offered permanent employment under the recent amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009.

Are you a Casual Employee?

A person is a Casual Employee if they accept a job offer from an employer knowing that there is no firm advance commitment to ongoing work with an agreed pattern of work. To see how this is different from full-time or part-time, see here.

Once employed, an employee will continue to be casual until they become a permanent employee, through casual conversion or receiving an offer, or until they stop being employed.

If you are a casual employee, depending on your employer’s business size, you may wish to request casual conversion or receive an offer by your employer.

You do not have to accept an offer for casual conversion.  If you do not respond to your employer within 21 days of receiving an offer, an employer can assume that you have declined the offer.

For more information about becoming a permanent employee and its entitlements, see Becoming a permanent employee (fairwork.gov.au).

What does this mean for your Business? 

Small Business (less than 15 Employees)
New Casual Employees:
All employers now need to give every new casual employee a Casual Employment Information Statement (CEIS) before or as soon as possible after they start their new job.

You can download this statement from the Fair Work’s website, with detailed information of what and when you are required to give it to your employees.

Small business employers are not required to offer casual conversion to their new casual employees to become permanent employees. Although casual employees may request casual conversion if they are eligible.

Existing Casual Employees as of 27 March 2021:
Small business employers have been required to give their existing casual employees a copy of the CEIS, effective since 27 March 2021.
Small business employers are not required to offer casual conversion to their existing casual employees to become permanent employees.  Although casual employees may request casual conversion if they are eligible.

Large Business (more than 15 Employees)
New Casual Employees:
All employers now need to give every new casual employee a Casual Employment Information Statement (CEIS) before or as soon as possible after they start their new job.
Going forward, employers (except a small business employer) are also required to make a written offer to convert their casual employees to permanent employment within 21 days after the employee’s 12-month anniversary, if the employee:

  • has been employed by the employer for 12 months
  • has worked a regular pattern of hours on an ongoing basis for at least the last 6 months
  • could continue working these hours as a full-time or part-time employee without significant changes.

If an employer (except a small business employer) decides not to offer casual conversion, the employer needs to write to the employee within 21 days after the employee’s 12 month anniversary, telling them:

  • that they aren’t making an offer of casual conversion
  • the reasons for not making the offer.

Please note that an employer has reasonable grounds for not making an offer or refusing a request, and an employee can also refuse an offer of permanent employment.

Existing Casual Employees as of 27 March 2021:
Employers, other than small businesses, are required to give their existing casual employees a copy of the CEIS as soon as possible after 27 September 2021.

Employers, other than small businesses, are also required to assess whether any of their existing casual employees, employed prior to 27 March 2021, are eligible to be offered to convert to permanent employment.  Such an offer must be made before 27 September 2021.

If your employer decides not to offer you casual conversion (including if you don’t meet the requirements because you haven’t been employed for 12 months), your employer needs to tell you that in writing within 21 days of making the assessment but by no later than 27 September 2021.

Need more information:
For further information on these recent changes, please see the information provided by the Fair Work Ombudsman. Changes to casual employment – industrial relations reforms – Fair Work Ombudsman

Please contact the Kennedy Cross office if you have any questions regarding the supplied information or your employer obligations for casual employees.