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Published: 10 October 2018
Author: Nicole Elliot

Casual workers win right to permanent jobs

A new industrial ruling has taken effect which will allow casual workers the right to apply for permanent employment. The breakthrough Fair Work Commission ruling released in July 2017 has taken effect from 1 October 2018.

The ruling provides casual workers with the right to request a permanent position if they have worked regular hours for at least 12 months. Casual employees who have worked 38 hours or more per week, under the new ruling will have the right to request a permanent full-time position. Those workers who have worked less than 38 hours per week but have worked a “pattern of hours” on an ongoing basis can request a permanent part-time position.

Can an employer still refuse a casual worker permanent employment?

A worker must request the permanent position in writing. An employer may refuse a request for change to a permanent position only if there are reasonable grounds for a refusal.

An employer can refuse the request if:

  • it would require a significant change to the employee’s hours of work in order for the employee to be engaged as a full-time or part-time employee;
  • the position will cease to exist within the next 12 months;
  • the hours of work required to be performed will be significantly reduced in the next 12 months; and if
  • there will be a significant change in the days or times the employee is required to work is expected to change in the next 12 months.

The ruling provides that following a request for change the employer must communicate the reasons for the decision in consultation with the employee. The ruling will provide thousands of casual workers the power to request change, with change to employment titles providing greater rights to casual employees.

A permanent role allows the employee to accrue paid sick leave and annual leave entitlements, whilst also providing job stability without the fear of shifts decreasing with short notice.

This development will prove important for many employees, particularly families. With the increasing cost of living employees will have the ability to forward plan their spending.

Additional changes for casual workers from November onwards

In a further win for casual employees, from 1 November 2018 penalty rates for casual employees under the General Retail Industry Award will increase. This change will see casual retail employees earning an additional 15 per cent income for work on a Saturday. Casual employees will also receive an additional 5% for work performed after 6pm from Monday to Friday. These penalty rates will be received in addition to casual loadings.

For further information on how to apply for a permanent position, visit the Fair Work Commission website.