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The Casual Conversion date is looming - Are you compliant?

It is mandatory for businesses (excluding small business) that have employees who meet the eligibility criteria for casual conversion prior to the 27th of March 2021 are offered a chance to be permanent before the 27th of September 2021.

Under the Fair Work Act’s National Employment Standards, casual employees have rights, not limited to being eligible to become a permanent employee if they meet the necessary criteria. This means that businesses, with the exception of small businesses, have a positive obligation to offer a casual employee to become permanent if they meet the necessary criteria. Such an offer of casual employment conversion must be offered to all eligible employees employed before the 27th of March 2021 by the 27th of September 2021.

Eligibility Criteria for Offering Casual Conversion

If the business is not identified as a small business and an employee has been:

  • Employed for 12 months by the employer;

  • Has worked consistent times for at least the previous 6 months, and;

  • Would be able to work at consistent times as either a permanent part or full-time employee without significant changes

The business must make a written offer to the casual employee to convert them to permanent within 3 weeks of them being employed for a year. It is then up to the employee to respond to the offer of casual conversion, with a failure to respond is deemed as declining the offer to become a permanent employee.

In distinguishing whether the casual employee converts to a permanent part-time or full-time employee, it is important to look at the number of hours worked. For a casual employee to become a permanent full-time employee, they must have worked the equivalent hours of a full-time employee (which is approximately 38 hours a week) for at least the last 6 months. Similarly, converting a casual employee to a part-time employee means the employee must have worked less than the full-time equivalent of 38 hours a week for at least the previous 6 months.

As well as businesses being mandated to offer casual employees the ability to become permanent, casual employees can also elect to become permanent provided they meet the criteria for casual conversion as mentioned above as well as the following not occurring in the previous 6 months:

  • Refusing an offer by the employer to be permanent

  • The employer has told them in writing that they cannot do so due to having reasonable ground for not doing so (see below for what amounts to a reasonable ground)

  • The employer has refused a prior request due to reasonable grounds (see below for more information)

Exceptions to Casual Conversion

As with nearly everything employment-related, there are exceptions to employers being obliged to make an offer of casual conversion. The key exception is there being reasonable grounds to not offer the casual employee a permanent position. These grounds are based on known facts or being foreseeable that within the next 12 months include:

  • The employee’s role will no longer exist;

  • The employee’s hours of work will be significantly reduced, or;

  • The employee’s days/times of work will significantly change AND cannot be accommodated with the times they are available for work

Also, employers can refuse to offer casual conversion if they will have to make significant adjustments for them to be permanent.

If you are unsure of your obligations around casuals or casual conversion, give our team a ring on 0407 863 017

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