Casual employees

On 12 December 2017, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) made changes to part-time and casual provisions in some awards.

Changes were made to the part-time clause in some awards, including the Hospitality and Restaurant Awards, and to overtime entitlements for casual employees in other awards, including the Retail, Hair and Beauty and Fast Food Awards.

These changes apply from 1 January 2018. You can read the FWC's orders external-icon.png on their website now and we'll update the information on this website soon.

A casual employee:

  • has no guaranteed hours of work
  • usually works irregular hours (but can work regular hours)
  • doesn't get paid sick or annual leave
  • can end employment without notice, unless notice is required by a registered agreement, award or employment contract.

How is casual different to full-time or part-time?

Full-time and part-time employees have ongoing employment (or a fixed-term contract) and can expect to work regular hours each week. They are entitled to paid sick leave and annual leave.

Full-time and part-time employees must give or receive notice to end the employment.

What do casual employees get?

Casual employees are entitled to:

  • a higher hourly pay rate than equivalent full-time or part-time employees. This is called a 'casual loading' and is paid because they don't get benefits such as sick or annual leave
  • 2 days unpaid carer's leave and 2 days unpaid compassionate leave per occasion
  • unpaid community service leave.

Long term casual employees

Some casual employees work regular hours or the same days each week for a long period and become 'long term casuals'.

Long term casuals stay as casual employees unless they formally change to full-time or part-time employment. They don't automatically become permanent employees, even if they are called 'permanent casual'. They get their casual entitlements regardless of how regularly they work or how long they work for.

After 12 months of regular employment, and if it’s likely the regular employment will continue, a casual employee can:

  • request flexible working arrangements
  • take parental leave.

They don't get paid leave or notice of termination, even if they work regularly for a long time.

Changing to full-time or part-time employment

A casual employee can change to full-time or part-time employment at any time if the employer and employee both agree to it.

Some enterprise agreements, other registered agreements and awards have a process for changing casual employees to full-time or part-time.

Find more information about arrangements for casual employees in your award by selecting from the list below.

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