Employing casual workers? Follow the rules

Having access to a casual workforce can be a great way for your business to manage busy periods while keeping ongoing costs low. Before you jump at the opportunity, it is important to understand the rules.casual staff

With the increasing casualisation of the workforce in Australia, there is a large and accessible pool of eager workers. Many students and those re-entering the workforce are looking to fill a gap in their employment or gain valuable experience. If you want to attract strong candidates to roles in the future, gaining a good reputation for treating your casual workers properly can set you up for success in the future. The right casual employee may even become an invaluable part of your business and be a great fit for a permanent role.


What is a casual employee?

The Fairwork Ombudsman defines a casual employee as an employee who “…does not have a firm commitment in advance from an employer about how long they will be employed for, or the days (or hours) they will work.” This means that they are not obligated to commit to all work on offer from the employer.


How is a casual employee different from a part-time employee?

Unlike casual employees, your part-time and full-time employees have fixed contracts or guarantees of ongoing employment and can expect to work regular hours. They also have entitlements, such as leave and must give or receive notice to end the employment.

Casual employees have no guaranteed hours of work, usually works irregular hours, don’t get annual leave and can end employment without notice.


What are the employers’ responsibilities?

  • To ensure employees are paid the correct rate, which may include an additional casual loading that replaces leave entitlements.
  • To pay superannuation if required.
  • To follow the Fairwork Ombudsman guidelines if you make any changes to the terms of the employment, such as requiring an employee to work for fixed hours or a fixed term
    Recognise that employees can ask for flexible work arrangements and paid parental leave after 12 months of ongoing employment.


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