Casual Part-Time? No Such Thing

Nov 19th, 2021

It’s important for employers to understand how to correctly engage their employees to ensure they are in compliance with our industrial relations system and the employees are not left worse off.

To be clear – there is no such thing as a “casual part-time” or a “permanent casual”. When looking at if you want to engage one or the other, its important to look at the respective rights and entitlements of both and how they differ.

There are some fundamental differences between two. Let’s look at them in short detail.

A part time employee is entitled to paid annual leave, as well as paid Personal/Carer’s (sick) leave. A casual employee is not entitled to either. While a part-time employee is entitled to paid compassionate leave, a casual employee is only entitled to unpaid compassionate leave.
Job Security
A casual employee is one who is engaged on an “as needs” basis and therefore should have no expectation of ongoing work. Essentially, the employment of a casual begins and ends with every shift.
Notice of termination
While part time employees are entitled to the notice provisions stipulated in the National Employment Standards, the “as needs” nature of casual employment means they are not entitled to notice of termination. This also applies to long term casuals.
Redundancy Pay
If a casual position is made redundant, the casual employee who held that position is not entitled to redundancy pay. Keep in mind, redundancy pay only applies if a practice has more than 15 employees.

However, that is not to say casual employee’s completely lack any entitlements afforded to part-time employees. While they may not receive most forms of paid leave, they are entitled to the following:
Parental Leave
If a casual has worked for 12 months on a regular and systematic basis and has a reasonable expectation of ongoing work they will be entitled to unpaid parental leave.
Unfair Dismissal
By the same token, if a casual employee has worked on a regular and systematic basis for 12 months they are entitled to make a claim for unfair dismissal if they feel they were unfairly dismissed.
Long Service Leave
While each state and territory has it’s own long service leave legislation and entitlement, casual employees are generally afforded the same long service leave entitlement as permanent employees.

One Thing to Consider
If they satisfy specific criteria, a regular casual employee will be entitled to an offer of casual conversion, or in a small business, entitled to request casual conversion. Such a request can only be rejected for certain reasons, such as if in the next 12 months the position will no longer exist, or the casual employee will be engaged in a substantially different fashion from their current regular shifts.
Final Note
If you do intend to engage an employee on a part-time or casual basis, it is strongly recommended to provide a contract detailing the terms of the employment and their minimum rights and entitlements. It should be made clear a casual employee is engaged as a casual employee, provided work on an as-needs basis and they should have no expectation of regular and ongoing shifts.

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