Casual employment means that an employee is paid a ‘loaded’ rate for the work performed and there is no guarantee of hours.  Numerous employees are happy to be on a consistent roster and paid the loaded rate, knowing that they would not get entitlements.  This could all change after the outcome of the Federal Court case ‘WorkPac v Skene’.  Mr Skene was employed as a casual truck driver on a mine site through a labour-hire company.  He claimed he was a permanent full-time employee as he was on a consistent roster that was similar to that of a full-time employee, therefore, he was entitled to annual leave entitlements and payment in lieu once the employment ended.  The Federal Court ruled in favour of Mr Skene.  Fair Work explains that casuals:

  • Have no guaranteed hours of work
  • Usually works irregular hours
  • Doesn’t get paid sick/annual leave
  • Can end employment without notice
  • Get a higher rate of pay than full-time employees to counteract the lack of entitlements
  • C an be known as a long-term casual when you have worked for an employee for more than 12 months and there is mutual agreement on the basis of the employment

Two factors will now affect any casual worker:

  1. The above outlined case between WorkPac v Skene could open a can of worms if the appeal is unsuccessful and be extremely costly for any other employer.  The Fair Work Act needs to be updated to state that if an employee is getting a loaded rate of pay and is employed for an extended period of regular time, then they can not ‘double dip’ and say they are owed entitlements such as annual leave.  Casual employers are a higher cost to an employer because of the loaded pay rates and not only are the gross wages higher but the super, WorkCover and payroll tax costs increase.

 

  1. From 1st October 2018, any casual employee who has been engaged in a regular roster and hours for a minimum of 12 months can request to go part or full-time. An employer can only refuse if they have reasonable grounds.  The casual rate will drop to the full-time payrate, but entitlements will start to accrue for sick/annual leave.

 

Employers need to take a closer look at their workforce and determine if it beneficial to have a casual workforce and the reasons why their employees are casual as it may prove too costly in the future.

Click here to go to the article in Matters Magazine

Is there any benefit to a casual workforce?