Casual Conversion on the Horizon

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has announced changes to Modern Awards, which will allow casual employees to request permanent employment.

The proposed clause states that an employer must provide all casual employees with a copy of the casual conversion clause within twelve (12) months of their initial engagement.

What are conversion clauses?

A conversion clause will soon allow casual employees to request converting to full-time or part-time employment after twelve (12) calendar months of service. However, these requests do not entitle casual to permanent employment. Rather, an employer must genuinely review the request.

Reasoning

The FWC’s reasoning behind its decision is that employers are becoming increasingly likely to engage employees on a casual basis indefinitely. However, some of these employees may wish to transition to permanent employment.

Conditions for the employee to meet

For an employee to request a conversion of employment they must have:

  • A standard pattern of hours on an ongoing basis; and
  • No significant changes in hours worked in the past 12 months

When an employer receives a request

Upon receipt of a request, an employer may refuse the request upon four (4) different grounds:

  • That the casual employee’s hours of work would require a significant adjustment to accommodate them in full-time or permanent part-time employment; or
  • It is known or reasonably foreseeable that the casual employee’s position will cease to exist; or
  • The casual employee’s hours will be significantly changed or reduced within the next 12 months; or
  • It is reasonable in the circumstances based on facts, which are known or reasonably foreseeable

The proposed clause is currently in the draft stage and may be altered before coming into effect.

There is a wide range of factors to be considered when reviewing an employee’s request, and employers should consider seeking advice when unsure whether they may refuse.

Need further advice on how the casual conversion clause could impact your business? Call us today on +61 (07) 3876 5111 to book in a consultation.

Written by
Michelle Chadburn, Associate
NB Lawyers – the Lawyers for Employers
07 3876 5111
michellec@nb-lawyers.com.au
www.lawyersforemployers.com.au