Prepare for Casual Conversion requests now
From 1 October 2018, all Modern Awards will contain a casual conversion clause.
If you have not already done so, we strongly recommend you prepare for the potential impact to your business.
Review the following areas in order to prepare and protect your business;
- Audit – look at your current casual employees to determine who is likely to be deemed as “regular and systematic” and is likely to be caught by the conversion provisions;
- Process –put processes in place to assess and respond to casual employees requesting to convert to permanent employment
- Legal – seek legal advice early so you that you understand your rights, obligations and risks
Even though a request can be refused on “reasonable grounds”, there is significant potential for dispute where an employee does not accept the basis on which a refusal is made. This may ultimately led to an arbitration before the Fair Work Commission costing you a considerable amount of time, money and damage to the employer/employee relationship.
The “reasonable grounds” upon which you can refuse a request for casual conversion include where:
- The request would require a significant adjustment to the employee’s hours of work in order for the employee to be engaged as a full-time or part-time employee;
- It is known or reasonably foreseeable that the employee’s position will cease to exist within the next 12 months;
- It is known or reasonably foreseeable that the hours of work which the regular casual employee is required to perform will be significantly reduced in the next 12 months;
- It is known or reasonably foreseeable that there will be significant change in the days and/or times at which the employee’s hours of work are required to be performed in the next 12 months which cannot be accommodated within the days and/or hours during which the employee is available to work.
Any refusal must firstly include consultation with the relevant employee.
To comply with the model clause, an employer will be required to furnish every casual employee with a copy of the model clause within the first 12 months of the employee's first engagement to perform work.
The model clause conveys a transition period for casual employees employed as at 1 October 2018; employers have until 1 January 2019 to furnish such employees with a copy of the conversion clause.
Being prepared and understanding exactly what the casual conversion entitlement is and the impact it can have on your business is absolutely critical to minimise negative outcomes. We have created procedures, documents and guidelines to help you navigate this successfully.
Don’t wait until you are on the path to arbitration – let us help you achieve the best outcome for your business without the need for a dispute.