As of October 1 this year, casuals working in Australia have the right under Fair Work to request a change to a permanent position if they have been working regular hours. Here's what you need to know if you're thinking of requesting a change.
Who Is Eligible?
This ruling applies to casual workers who are essentially working a regular full time or part time schedule. To be eligible, you have to have worked "a pattern of hours on an ongoing basis" over a period of at least two months.
If these hours average to 'equivalent full time hours' you can ask for full time employment, or part time if the hours are less.
How To Ask
To be valid under Fair Work, any request has to be made to your employer in writing. It's good practice to keep a copy for your own records as well.
Once your request is provided to them, your employer can approve or deny it - however they can't deny the request without a good reason and prior consultation with you. Acceptable reasons include the following:
(i) it would require a significant adjustment to the casual employee’s hours of work in order for the employee to be engaged as a full-time or part-time employee in accordance with the provisions of this award – that is, the casual employee is not truly a regular casual employee as defined in paragraph (b); (ii) it is known or reasonably foreseeable that the regular casual employee’s position will cease to exist within the next 12 months; (iii) 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; or (iv) it is known or reasonably foreseeable that there will be a 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.
Disputing a Refusal
If the reasons for refusal don't sit right with you, you can dispute it, which will be handled under the dispute resolution clause of your existing award. For instance, the general retail award contains the following:
In the first instance the parties must attempt to resolve the matter at the workplace by discussions between the employee or employees concerned and the relevant supervisor. If such discussions do not resolve the dispute, the parties will endeavour to resolve the dispute in a timely manner by discussions between the employee or employees concerned and more senior levels of management as appropriate.
If disputes are unable to be resolved internally, then the matter can be taken to Fair Work to resolve.
For all the specifics as they relate to your particular job, check out your award on the Fair Work website, which will have been updated this week. Just search for the "right to request casual conversion" clause within your award.