Changes To Casual Employment – The Fair Work Act 2009

In April 2024, there were changes made to the Fair Work Act 2009 regarding the definition of “casual employment” and casual conversion rights. Both employers and employees who are employed pursuant to a casual employment contract need to be aware of these changes, which come into effect on 26 November 2024.

Currently the main factor that distinguishes a casual employee from a permanent employee is whether the employer has given the employee a firm advance commitment with an agreed pattern of work and centres on the terms of the employment engagement. The changes widen this definition.

Under the new definition an employee will only be a casual employee where:

  1. the relationship is characterised by an absence of firm advance commitment to continuing and indefinite work; and
  2. the employee is entitled to casual loading or a specific rate of pay for casual employees.

The new definition requires, when determining whether there is a “firm advance commitment” for consideration to be given to the “real substance, practical reality and true nature of the employment relationship” and other factors. These factors include looking at whether there is a regular pattern of work, whether the employee can elect to accept or reject work, whether it is reasonably likely that there will be future availability of continuing work of that usually performed by the employee and the expectation between the employer and employee.

The new casual conversion rights allow the employee after 6 months employment or 12 months if the employee meets the definition of a “small business”, to notify their employer that they are no longer a casual employee pursuant to the definition contained in the Fair Work Act 2009. If the casual employee has had a regular pattern of work during the previous 6 months employment period, the employer is required to offer the employee conversion or provide reasons for not doing so.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding these changes or how they may affect you or your business please contact the team at Cohen Legal. Our business is protecting yours.