The employment structure applied on-site can impact on the roles and responsibilities of management in the business as a whole. This weeks HR Highlight reviews important things to remember with the creation or conversion to part time employment structure.

Part Time v Full Time

It is important for businesses to recognise that part time work is not just full time work with a reduction in hours. This simplistic view needs to be actively challenged for accuracy as it misses some important elements that businesses must address to achieve compliance when engaging part time employees.  Such as the requirement to set guaranteed hours stipulating days of work and start and finish times, and the need to ensure that any changes to the guaranteed hours that occur over time are by agreement and are appropriately documented.

The need to understand, communicate and track pro-rata entitlement accrual is another complicating factor when engaging part time employees.

Part Time v Casual

The difference between part time employment and casual employment is more profound, and is often confused within a business.

In the petroleum industry, particularly in the retail sector, casual employment is the normative position. Most of the approximately 40,000 retail employees nationally are engaged as casuals. The entitlements for causal workers differ significantly from those of permanent staff (part time or full time), and differing pay scales under the modern award confirm and reflect these differences, compensating workers with a higher standard rate.

The reasons for the prevalence of casual employment structures in the retail sector include the requirement for flexibility, preference of employees and the nature of the employment pool which includes high representation in the school leaver, university student and return to work parent groups.

There are, however, times where the status of an employee will be questioned and some employees that the business considers to be casual may be ‘deemed’ to be part time. In questions of ‘deeming’ the Fair Work Commission will consider; number of hours, consistency of hours, forward expectations of ongoing work and notice requirements around leave and illness. In cases where the structure of these elements leads the Commission to ‘deem’ a casual as a part time employee then that employee will gain access to the benefits of; Annual and Personal/Carers Leave, Parental Leave, Community Leave, Redundancy payment and all other provisions outlined under the modern awards, such as differing minimum shift hours.

Creating Clarity

ACAPMA reminds members to create clarity in the workplace on the employment types by:

  • Communicating to workers on commencement and on anniversary dates
    • the instrument of employment (Modern Award, Enterprise Agreement etc)
    • the classification under that instrument (eg. Console Operator R4 Classification under the Vehicle Manufacturing, Repair, Service and Retail Award 2010)
    • the employment type (Casual, Part Time, Full Time)
    • the wage rates and included benefits
  • For permanent staff communicating in writing the days that they will work, the times they will start and finish and that these hours will constitute the guaranteed hours and that changes to the guaranteed hours can be made by mutual agreement.  This should include a mechanism for the noting of any such changes.
  • Ensuring the Casual Conversion is offered at the appropriate time and noted on employee files
  • Ensuring that regular rosters, and predictable shift patterns acknowledge that “long term casuals” will be the core with “as required” shifts offered based on the businesses requirements.

Here to Help

ACAPMA Members are reminded that ACAPMA Employment Professionals are available to assist members on 1300 160 270 or you can email

HR Highlights are things to consider, implement and watch out for in your business. They are provided as general advice and you should seek further advice on your situation by  calling 1300 160 270 and speaking to one of ACAPMA Employment Professionals is free for members.

Elisha Radwanowski BCom (HRM & IR), ACAPMA