Changes were made to the Fair Work Act on 27 March 2021 that gave life to a formal definition of a casual employee and placed into the Act the requirements for Casual Conversion. ACAPMA has received several questions about how the Act and the Award interact and what steps they should be taking now in terms of employing new casual staff and meeting the requirements of casual conversion now. This weeks Q & A will have a quick practical look at this confusing area
The changes to the Act define a casual and set a standard for all federal system employees to have access to casual conversion. To explore the changes in detail check out: https://acapmag.com.au/2021/03/casuals-steps-for-business-now/
The confusion springs from the fact that the changes to the Act are in force now…and they state that casual conversion has to be communicated to staff after 12 months of engagement…but the Vehicle Repair, Service and Retail Award 2020 states that casual conversion has to be communicated to staff after 6 months of engagement.
Q: When am I supposed to do the Casual Conversion for my staff? 6 months or 12 months?
A: The short answer is…6 months.
The long answer is that the Fair Work Commission is in the process of reviewing and changing the Awards to reflect the changes that were made to the Act. This is a long process that is being done in batches, with the first few modern awards being reviewed for change now.
In the mean time the principle of ‘most benificial’ has to apply. This means that if the Award has a more beneficial clause for an employee than the Act, then that is what has to apply.
As the Vehicle Repair, Service and Retail Award 2020 provides for casual conversion to happen after a shorter amount of time than the Act it is the Award that will apply for now.
Q: Has ACAPMA published an updated Casual Conversion Guide?
A: Yes. ACAPMA Members should email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a copy of the latest Casual Conversion Guide
Q: Will ACAPMA update the Casual Conversion Guide when our Award has its review?
A: Again yes we will, and we will notify all members…here and directly as we do with any Award change.
Q: Is it likely that our Award will change to 12 months?
A: Changes to the Award are subject to submission and comment and the direction of the Fair Work Commission, so speculating now is not something that we can do…but we will let you know
Q: When our Award is reviewed will the things we need to do for casual conversion change?
A: Yes it is likely the format and wording will change to meet a template, the timing may change, but until the Award is up for review we wont know what that change looks like.
Q: Has ACAPMA released new Casual Engagement Documents?
A: Yes. ACAPMA Members should contact ACAPMA on email@example.com to request the updated Engagement Documents Guide that incorporates the changes to the casual definition and the implementation of the Casual Employment Information Statement, which has to be provided to all casual staff in addition to the normal Fair Work Information Statement
Here to Help
ACAPMA members can access resources and can call ACAPMA for advice and support by contacting the employment professionals via firstname.lastname@example.org. HR Highlights are general information for you to consider and do not constitute advice on your specific situation
Elisha Radwanowski BCom(HRM &IR)
Executive Manager Employment and Training