The New Year is often the perfect opportunity to catch up on your business paperwork and invest time into making sure you are meeting your employer requirements. If you employ casual staff in your business, then making time this year to review employment contracts and workplace processes might be more important than you think.
Late last year, there was a landmark decision in a case where a casual employee was found to be entitled to annual leave and sick pay (Workpac v Skene). This decision was due to the employment conditions meeting the criteria of full-time employment – rosters were planned in advance, the hours regular and there was a pattern of work.
This decision has now led to two important announcements by the Federal Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations.
Firstly, new regulations will be created to support employers who have been found to wrongly categorise casual employees. Casual loadings already paid will offset orders to back pay workers.
Secondly, plans are underway to legislate the rights of “regular casual employees” to request full-time or part-time employment.
So, what does this mean for your business and what do you need to do?
McConachie Stedman’s Human Resource Manager, Nick Hannant has some suggestions on where you should start.
- Review your internal processes. Rosters shouldn’t be planned well in advance for casual staff. Try to limit them to a weekly or fortnightly schedule. Include a written clause that highlights that casual hours are not guaranteed for ongoing work and can be subject to change pending staffing and operational changes.
- Review employment contracts and ensure there is no reference to an entitlement of ongoing, regular or systematic work. Also, ensure that contracts indicate that casual loading is provided in lieu of sick and annual leave entitlements.
- To help give casual employees more say over when they work, ask them to provide written advice on their availability.
- Adopt a planning model that limits systematic and regular hours.
- When part-time or full-time positions become available, offer them to casual employees and record all related documentation and correspondence.
Do you need some help with reviewing your casual employee contracts and processes? Contact Nick on 1300 363 866 to book your free, one-hour consultation.