Casual Employees may change to part-time – new legislation

Many churches employ people on a casual basis for many roles and tasks. New legislation was recently passed that affect many modern awards that may affect church employees – clerical employees in particular. 

In summary 

person engaged by a particular employer as a regular casual employee may request that their employment be converted to full-time or part-time employment. 

What should employers do about it 

  1.  Review the regularity of work performed by casual employees 
  2.  Determine if any casual employees are regular casual employees 
  3.  Notify these employees that they have the right to request to have their employment converted to full-time employment. 
  4.  If requested, discuss and decide if the employee will convert to full or Part-Time employment 
  5.  If agreed that a casual employee changes to a part or full-time position, a new employment agreement should be created and signed with an effective start date and adjusted rates of pay. 

Please note that this may lead to a decrease in the hourly rate of an employee but with added leave provisions and benefits. 

The details 

New FAIR WORK AMENDMENT (RIGHT TO REQUEST CASUAL CONVERSION) bill.  

See here  for the detailed bill 

The new right in the Bill is in line with the model casual conversion clause (the Model Clause) developed by the Fair Work Commission (the Commission) and inserted into 85 modern awards. 

In October 2018, most modern awards were amended to include a model clause dealing with the right of casual employees to request conversion to permanent employment. 

In short, the model clause states that a “regular casual employee” has the right to request that their employment be converted to permanent full-time or part-time employment. A “regular casual employee” is defined as a casual employee who, for the last 12 months, has worked a pattern of hours on an ongoing basis which, without significant adjustment, the employee could continue to perform as a permanent employee. 

The model clause requires that requests for casual conversion be made to an employer in writing and that an employer consult with the employee who has made the request. Requests may be refused after consultation where there are reasonable grounds for the refusal. 

Please note that It is the obligation of the employer to notify casual employees of their right to request conversion and to respond to requests by casual employees for conversion to full-time or part-time positions. 

For example, many churches have employees working on a casual basis under the Clerks-Private Sector Award 2010. This award has a new clause 12.5 Right to request casual conversion

Important paragraphs of this clause include: 

 (a)    A person engaged by a particular employer as a regular casual employee may request that their employment be converted to full-time or part-time employment. 

 (b)    A  regular casual employee  is a casual employee who has in the preceding period of 12 months worked a pattern of hours on an ongoing basis which, without significant adjustment, the employee could continue to perform as a full-time employee or part-time employee under the provisions of this award. 

 (c)    A regular casual employee who has worked equivalent full-time hours over the preceding period of 12 months’ casual employment may request to have their employment converted to full-time employment. 

 (d)   A regular casual employee who has worked less than equivalent full-time hours over the preceding period of 12 months’ casual employment may request to have their employment converted to part-time employment consistent with the pattern of hours previously worked. 

 (e)   Any request under this subclause must be in writing and provided to the employer. 

 (f)   Where a regular casual employee seeks to convert to full-time or part-time employment, the employer may agree to or refuse the request, but the request may only be refused on reasonable grounds and after there has been consultation with the employee. 

Click here to see the full award. 

 

Please contact us if you would like to discuss the financial management of your church or NFP at  [email protected]  or 1300 138 627  

© Benkorp  Management Services Pty Ltd 2019

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