Changes to casual employment – industrial relations reforms
Published 26 March 2021 | Updated 20 May 2021
Recent amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 (FW Act) change the workplace entitlements and obligations for casual employees.
These changes came into effect on 27 March 2021.
On this page:
Overview of changes
The FW Act has been amended to include a:
- Casual Employment Information Statement
- definition of casual employment
- pathway for casual employees to become full-time or part-time (permanent).
Casual Employment Information Statement
Employers now need to give every new casual employee a Casual Employment Information Statement (the CEIS) before, or as soon as possible after, they start their new job.
Small business employers need to give their existing casual employees a copy of the CEIS as soon as possible after 27 March 2021. Other employers have to give their existing casual employees a copy of the CEIS as soon as possible after 27 September 2021.
Definition of a casual employee
The FW Act has been amended to include a new definition of a casual employee.
A person is a casual employee if they accept a job offer from an employer knowing that there is no firm advance commitment to ongoing work with an agreed pattern of work.
Once employed as a casual, an employee will continue to be a casual employee until:
- they become a permanent employee through:
- casual conversion, or
- being offered and accepting full-time or part-time employment, or
- they stop being employed by the employer.
Existing casual employees
Casuals who were employed immediately before 27 March 2021 and whose initial employment offer meets the new definition continue to be casual employees under the FW Act.
We’ve updated our website to include detailed information about the new definition of casual employment. For more information, visit Casual employees.
Becoming a permanent employee
The National Employment Standards now include an entitlement for casual employees to become full-time or part-time (permanent) in some circumstances. This is also known as 'casual conversion'.
Casual employees can become permanent by their employer offering casual conversion or by making a request to their employer for casual conversion. There are eligibility requirements and exceptions that apply and processes that need to be followed.
However, small business employers don’t need to offer casual conversion to their casual employees. Different rules also apply for offers of casual conversion to existing casuals employed immediately before 27 March 2021 who aren’t employed by a small business.
For more information, visit Becoming a permanent employee.
Taking legal action
Under the changes, some disputes about casual conversion can now be resolved through the Federal Circuit Court. For more information, visit Legal action in the small claims court.
Also under the changes, where an employee is described as a casual, but through court proceedings it's determined that they aren't, a court needs to reduce any amounts that the employee could be entitled to by reference to casual loading amounts already paid by the employer to the employee to compensate for those entitlements.
For more information, visit:
Source reference: Fair Work Act 2009 sections 15A, 66A, 66F and 125A .