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UpdatesJan 30, 2021

3 proposed changes to casual employment

In December 2020, the Federal Government introduced into Federal Parliament the Fair Work Amendment (Supporting Australia’s Jobs and Economic Recovery) Bill 2020.

By Kelly Godfrey

In December 2020, the Federal Government introduced into Federal Parliament the Fair Work Amendment (Supporting Australia’s Jobs and Economic Recovery) Bill 2020 (the Bill).

The Bill proposes, among other things, to:

Casual employee definition

The proposed definition provides that a person is a casual employee of an employer if the employer makes an offer of employment that the employee accepts on the basis that “the employer makes no firm advance commitment to continuing and indefinite work according to an agreed pattern of work”.

The Bill indicates that determination would be only based on whether:

This means that:

The Bill replaces the term “long-term casual employee” with “regular casual employee”, being a casual employee who has been employed by the employer on a regular and systematic basis. Parental leave and the right to request flexible work would be extended to a regular casual employee.

Conversion to permanent employment

While the Bill provides mechanisms for the employer or employee to initiate conversion of casual employment to full-time or part-time, there is an ability for an employer not to offer casual conversion on reasonable grounds. Those reasonable grounds include where, within the following 12 months, the casual employee’s:

Under the Bill, the Fair Work Commission would have the power to deal with disputes about casual conversion, unless an alternative dispute procedure is contained in an enterprise agreement, employment contract, or other agreement between the employee and employer.

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