Home - New review of modern award regulation of casuals

UpdatesApr 26, 2021

New review of modern award regulation of casuals

Following the commencement on 27 March 2021 of new legislation inserting provisions about casual employment in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (the FW Act), the Fair Work Commission (FWC) will review modern awards to assess how they will interact with the amendments.

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Following the commencement on 27 March 2021 of new legislation inserting provisions about casual employment in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (the FW Act), the Fair Work Commission (FWC) will review modern awards to assess how they will interact with the amendments.

The amendments to the FW Act require the review to determine what modern award variations are required to make the awards consistent to operate effectively with the FW Act.

The review will consider the terms that deal with casual employment and make relevant variations to modern awards to reflect the legislative changes made by the casual employment amendments. The review is required to be completed by 27 September 2021.

The first stage of the review

The first stage of the review will look at what needs to change in six awards:

The things that will be considered in the first stage are:

This will not be straightforward. For example, the definition of a casual in clause 11.1 of the General Retail Industry Award is “a casual employee is an employee engaged as such”. The new FW Act uses a much narrower definition of casuals (i.e. there must not be a firm advance commitment to continuing and indefinite work according to an agreed pattern of work). If the FWC decides to adopt this narrower definition of casual, what happens to those employees previously engaged and paid as a casual who will fall outside this definition because there is a firm, advance commitment?

The FWC has issued directions for lodging submissions for the stage one review along with a discussion paper. The FWC is encouraging employer groups and unions to have discussions together on the review.

The second stage of the review will look at the remaining modern awards.

How to prepare for award changes

You should be reviewing your template documents used to engage casuals to ensure that, by the end of the transitional period in the new amendments to the FW Act (27 September 2021):

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