It’s quickly coming up to that time of the year – casual conversion time, that is! Changes made to Australian employment laws by the federal government on 27 March 2021 introduced new casual conversion obligations, the requirement to provide all casual workers with the Casual Employment Information Statement (CEIS) and a refined definition of what constitutes a casual employee.

To give employers the opportunity to prepare for the changes, the government provided a 6-month transition period before the updates come into full effect on 27 September 2021.

For businesses with 15 employees or less, although there is no obligation to offer casual conversion to workers, such employers are still required to provide employees with a copy of the CEIS as soon as possible after 27 March 2021.

To ensure compliance with the new casual conversion laws, here’s a brief breakdown of what employers with a workforce of 15 or more people should be looking at.

What do I need to action by 27 September 2021?

For business owners with casual employees who were employed prior to 27 March 2021, it’s important to carefully assess and determine which, if any, are eligible for an offer of conversion.

An important step to remember is that all casual employees need to be provided with written notice of the outcome of the assessment, whether they are eligible for casual conversion or not. This written notice should be provided to the employee within 21 days of conducting the assessment and by no later than 27 September 2021.

Eligibility requirements include:

  • Have been employed for a period of 12 months
  • Have worked a regular pattern of work on an ongoing basis (for at least the last 6 months)
  • Could continue working their regular hours as a permanent employee without significant adjustment

Awards also usually deal with casual employment and include a process for casuals to convert to permanent employment in some circumstances, so it’s important to check the award for further information.

Employers can refuse to offer casual conversion if there are reasonable business grounds to do so, but need to provide the employee with written notice and the reasons why. In addition, all casual employees employed on or after 27 March 2021 should have been provided with a copy of the CEIS by now.

What happens after 27 September 2021?

For casual employees who were employed on or after 27 March 2021, employers must provide eligible casual workers the opportunity to convert to permanent employment within 21 days of their 12-month anniversary. Employers are also required to provide all current casual employees with a copy of the CEIS as soon as possible after this date.

Remember to keep track of it

Employers should also assess the HR systems in place to ensure accuracy when recording any details in relation to casual conversion. This includes when casual employees are eligible for an offer of casual conversion, any offers or refusals of casual conversion, employee responses to offers of conversion, and provisions of the CEIS to all casual employees.

With the labour market so tight, employers of casuals will be acutely aware of the difficulty hiring, so the permanent conversion conversation could equally be a tool to increase retention.

Want help converting your eligible casual workers to permanent employees? Need assistance updating employment contracts? Don’t hesitate to get in touch for an obligation-free chat about how we could assist via the chat box or calling us on 08 6150 0043.

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