Employing casual staff is a great way for the small business owner to get the help they need, when they need it, without committing to ongoing wage costs. Just like a romance it can be like a rollercoaster!
Casual Employment is like a new romance – you don’t know when or if you will see each other again!
When you first meet someone and start dating, you don’t know when or if you will see each other again – just like the relationship you have with a casual employee.
If things go well, you start spending more time together. Friday night becomes a standing date; you have regular lunches and always hang out on a Sunday afternoon. The relationship is more predictable with a level of commitment similar to that of a part time employee.
It is vitally important for the business owner to fully understand the differences between employing someone on a casual or part time basis. You don’t want to learn the hard way by being hauled before the Fair Work Tribunal for getting it wrong.
If you employ casuals – take a moment to think about your relationship with them?
The Fair Work Act provides that a person is a casual employee if:
- An offer of employment is made by an employer to a prospective employee;
- the offer does not include a promise or agreement that the work will continue indefinitely with a fixed pattern of hours;
- they accept the offer knowing that there is no such promise or agreement;
- they become an employee as a result of that acceptance;
- You should consider following factors to determine whether a casual employment arrangement exists:
- Does the employee have the option to choose whether or not to work a shift?
- Is the employee offered hours of work purely on a needs-basis?
- Is the employment described as casual?
- Is the employee paid a casual loading (a higher pay rate for being a casual employee), or specific pay rate?
These are the steps you can take if you are thinking of employing a casual (or any employee)
- Firstly – Check the Modern Award that applies to your industry (either online or on the phone Fair Work 131314) as it will set out the conditions upon which an employee is considered casual or not.
- Keep a record of the arrangement you make with the employee. Now while the law only requires you to record the mode of employment in the employee’s records, it is much safer to demonstrate that both parties have agreed to the terms by defining the relationship in a written contract.Putting your employment agreement in writing ensures that you have a rock solid record of the arrangement you are making with your employee, preventing future misunderstandings and disputes.Whether someone is employed on a casual or part-time basis depends on what was agreed between the parties at the beginning of employment. This is a very important nugget of information that will save you untold hassles as an employer especially if there is any dispute as to what terms of the employee hire.
- Finally, it is important to keep in mind that you may be required by law to provide casual employees access to a pathway to permanent employment. For more information, visit this link.
This agreement is for casual employees who are employed under a modern award where the standard award entitlements apply. A Casual employee has no firm advance commitment to a continuing and definite pattern of work. They don’t usually receive sick leave or annual leave and should be paid a casual loading to offset this lack of entitlements.
Bar staff or shop assistants who are never exactly sure when they will be required for work are prime examples.
View all our Employment Agreements
Last Reviewed May 2021 by Kirra Griffin
Kirra Griffin is a final-year law student at Melbourne Law School. As our resident legal assistant, Kirra uses her specialised knowledge of the law to translate complex concepts into easily digestible information.