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Fair Work changes for casual employment – March 2021

As of 27th March 2021, changes came in to affect under the Fair Work Act 2009 (FW Act) that relates to the rights and obligations of casual employees. 

Below is a summary of the updates, followed by how to meet your new compliance requirements with WorkPro’s new CEIS eLearning module from today. 

Please note: the following is correct as of the date of writing. We will update this resource if and when updates are announced. 

Key changes  

Casual Employment Information Statement 

A new Statement has been released called the ‘Casual Employment Information Statement’ (CEIS). 

As of the date above, employers are obligated to provide all new casual employees with this Statement before, or as soon as possible after they start their new employment. 

  • Small businesses are required to provide the CEIS as soon as possible to casual employees. 
    Note: small businesses in this instance is defined as less than 15 workers, which includes the number of workers of an associated entity of the employer. Casual employees are not included, unless engaged on a regular or systematic basis. 
  •  All other employers must provide their casual employees with a copy of the CEIS as soon as possible after 27 September 2021

This Statement is in addition to the updated Fair Work Information Statement (updated 29th March 2021) which forms part of the National Employment Standards (NES). 

Definition of ‘casual employment’

A person is defined as a casual employee if they accept a job offer from an employer knowing that it is on a ‘casual’ basis – i.e. there is no evidence of a commitment to ongoing work in advance with an agreed pattern. 

Once employed as a casual, an individual will continue to be a casual employee until they: 

  • Become a permanent employee through: 
    • Casual conversion 
    • Accepting an offer of full-time or part-time employment 
  • Stop being employed by the employer 

‘Existing’ casual employees  

Existing casual employees are defined as those who were employed immediately before 27 March 2021, and whose initial employment offer meets the new definition, continue to be a casual under the Fair Work Act. 

A new pathway for casuals to move to permanent employment 

A new entitlement has been added to the National Employment Standards, giving casual employees a pathway to become a full-time or part-time (permanent) employee. This is called casual conversion

Employers (other than a small business employers) must now offer casual employees the opportunity to convert to full-time or part-time (permanent) when the worker: 

  • Has worked for the employer for 12 months 
  • Has worked a regular pattern of hours for at least the last 6 of those months on an ongoing basis 
  • Could continue working those hours as a permanent employee without significant changes 

Exceptions to this include: 

  • Small business employers, as defined above 
  • If an employer has ‘reasonable grounds’ not to make an offer to a casual employee for casual conversion 

Rules for making and responding to offers and requests 

There are new rules for how employers and employees need to make and respond to offers. There are also rules for offering casual conversion to existing casual employees. 

Casual employees now have a right to request to convert to full-time or part-time (permanent) employment in some circumstances. This applies to: 

  • Casual employees working for a small business – at any time, if they meet the requirements 
  • All other casual employees – after their employer has decided not to make an offer for casual conversion 

Taking legal action 

There is a new avenue to resolve some disputes about casual conversion. This is done through the Federal Circuit Court. 

When an employee is described as casual, but through court proceedings it is determined that they are not casual, an Amendment Act has been introduced. This brings in a new rule requiring courts to reduce any amounts the worker could be entitled to, referencing any casual loading amounts already paid by the employer to compensate for those entitlements. 

Meet your new compliance requirements with WorkPro’s CEIS eLearning Module 

 To help employers meet their legal requirements with Fair Work, WorkPro has built a specialised module that can be delivered as part of an eLearning job package for casual employees. 

Once the module has been completed by the casual employee, a date and time-stamped certificate is automatically generated which can be used as proof of compliance in the event of an audit. The details are stored securely online as part of the individual’s WorkPro profile, and can be accessed anytime from the WorkPro Dashboard. 

The new module provides an overview of the changes listed above, and what they mean for casual employees. The new CEIS is also embedded into the module so candidates can download it for their own reference. 

Most importantly, the module will be dynamically updated to meet current legislation as it changes. As long as you’re using WorkPro to deliver the CEIS to your casual employees, you’ll know that you’re covered – freeing you up to spend more time on what matters, and less worrying about compliance.

For more information about the Fair Work changes to casual employment or to learn more about WorkPro’s new module, contact us or call 1300 975 776. 

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