On 27th March 2021, the Fair Work Amendment (Supporting Australia's Jobs and Economic Recovery) Act 2021 (the Amendment) which implemented new casual employment conversion arrangements received royal assent and came into effect.
The Amendment clarified that if working a regular and systemic pattern of hours, a casual employee may in fact be a permanent employee and thus entitled to annual, sick and other leave payments. Following the implementation, employers were given a transition period to proactively assess their existing casual workforce against the eligibility criteria, and make offers of permanent employment to those that qualify.
The challenge of “stable, regular, or predictable in nature“
Certain industries known to have a larger casual workforce are retail, hospitality, local government, mining, and health and aged care. The challenge for most organisations over the past few months has been how to assess the working hours of their employees in the context of being “stable, regular, or predictable in nature“, in absence any specific guidance on what satisfies this condition. While a casual employee is largely understood as being offered employment on the basis of no firm future commitment to continuing and indefinite work, casual conversion comes into effect when over at least the last six months, an employee has worked an ongoing pattern of regular hours which could be continued as a full-time or part-time employee.
With the transition period coming to an end on 27 September 2021, employers will be expected to assess the status of their casual employees on their 12 month work anniversary to determine each employee’s eligibility for offers of casual conversion. Additionally, casual employees who believe they are eligible to become a permanent employee can make a request for conversion every six months if they believe their work pattern has become more consistent. Employers must accept or refuse the conversion within 21 days of the employee’s request.
A robust and advanced work pattern analysis
Using robust technology and advanced analytics, Grant Thornton has developed a comprehensive Casual Work Pattern Assessment tool which analyses the pattern and continuity of hours worked by casual employees pursuant to the conversion provisions outlined in the Amendment. Our unique scoring methodology and rich visualisations provide a heat map of casual employees within your organisation that may demonstrate regular and stable work patterns against ‘true’ casuals that have experienced irregular or unpredictable working hours over the last six months.
Our solution provides clear and concise insights to a complex issue so the management teams in your organisation can have confidence its decisions to extend offers of casual conversion to qualified employees.