Currently there are a number of modern awards which include a casual conversion clause which broadly provides employees with the right to convert to permanent employment if employed on a regular and systematic basis, for a period of 6 or 12 months (depending on the award).
The Fair Work Commission has recently finalised a model casual conversion clause which will be incorporated into an additional 85 modern awards from 1 October 2018. Like some current awards, the model clause broadly provides employees with the right to convert to permanent employment if their employment meets the systematic conditions of the award.
Employers can refuse to convert employment provided they have reasonable grounds to refuse a request made by an employee and provided they consult with the employee first.
Employers will have an obligation to provide certain casual employees with a copy of the casual conversion clause within the first 12 months of the employee’s engagement. The model clause conveys a transition period for casual employees employed as at 1 October 2018 meaning employers will have until 1 January 2019 to provide casual employees employed as at 1 October 2018 with a copy of the conversion clause.
We will provide a further guidance once the awards have been updated. In the meantime, we recommend that employers consider developing systems to identify casual employees engaged on a regular a systematic basis, monitor their period of engagement and record whether any notification of casual conversion has been issued (and if so when, whether the employee exercised the right and the employer’s decision). We also recommend that employers start thinking about the notification process including the documentation and correspondence it will require.
Please do not hesitate to contact our employment law team if you have any questions about this change and how it will affect your business and if you would like our assistance to ensure compliance with this new workplace change.
Rachel Derrico, Senior Associate