Fair Work Commission Landmark Ruling

7 July 2017

As part of the four yearly modern award review, the Full Bench made a number of determinations affecting the rights of casual employees.

Right to convert

Employers must, after 12 months, allow award covered casuals to convert to permanent employment where their hours have been regular and systematic.

Employers must provide casuals with a copy of the casual conversion provision after 12 months of service, and can only refuse a conversion request on reasonable business grounds as follows:

  1. Conversion will require a significant adjustment to the employee’s hours; 
  2. It is known or reasonably foreseeable that the role will cease to exist;
  3. The employee’s hours of work will significantly change or be reduced within the next 12 months;
  4. Other reasonable grounds based on fact are present or reasonably foreseeable.

Overtime

Casuals who work over 38 hours per week will be entitled to overtime pay, where they are covered by the General Retail Industry Award, Fast Food Industry Award, Hair and Beauty Award, Hospitality Award and Registered and Licensed Clubs Award.

Additionally, overtime rates will apply under the above awards when an employee works over a certain number of hours each day, as stipulated.

Implications for employers

As a result of the above changes, employers should:

  1. Monitor the hours worked by casual employees, and provide overtime pay where appropriate.
  2. Keep records and develop systems to monitor each casual employee’s hours and length of service.
  3. Reasonably consider all casual conversion requests.