Do Casual Workers Still Exist?

Casual worker using a coffee machine in a cafe

Do Casual Workers Still Exist

If you are a business, thinking about hiring casual workers to increase productivity you need to read this article. Traditionally hiring casual staff has been. A valuable tool to accomplish business goals however recent changes in legislation and decisions in case law show that the casual worker solution is more complex than it once was.

What is a casual employee?

In general terms, the meaning of casual worker was perceived to mean an employee that works on demand by an employer on irregular hours.

Casual workers do not attract regular and guaranteed hours of work, do not attract leave (annual and sick) and in most situations may end the employment without notice.

So when is this not the case? 

The landmark decision of WorkPac Pty Ltd v Skene provides a good example and applicable reasoning behind the difference of casual employee as opposed to a permanent employee.

The Federal Court found that a casual worker in a labour hire company, was not casual a casual employee but rather a permanent employee and therefore entitled to annual leave. 

The Court looked took into account amongst other things, predictability of shifts, the regularity of shits and the ongoing nature of employment coupled with the length of employment.

When looking at the employment holistically it became apparent to the Court that the employee was permeant due to these factors. The employer was ……………….

Hiring staff on a casual basis does not mean they are a casual employee even if this is expressly stated in a written contract.  In doing so, you attract penalties along with additional business costs to resolve any issues should they arise.

To further complicate matters, on 1 October 2018, employers must also ensure compliance with the new casual conversion clause which has been drafted into 80 (or more) modern employment awards across a variety of industries. This clause in some cases, may allow casual employees to give notice to their employer that they are transition to the permanent employment status.

What to Do Next

AKS Law can help you in these matters along with advising you as to your compliance obligations. It is best practice to minimise the risk form the onset by ensuring you are fully informed as to your obligations, compliance and have the correct contract drafted. If you are in need of legal advice, get in touch today to book an initial consultation.

Call us today on 07 3180 0144

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter and must not be relied on as legal advice or otherwise.  Specific advice should be sought about your circumstances.


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