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CONVERSION CLAUSE FOR CASUAL EMPLOYEES NOW INCLUDED IN MOST AWARDS
As from October 2018 most modern Awards were amended to include a casual conversion clause. A clause to provide for long term casuals who work on a consistent basis to request conversion to a permanent full time or part time basis depending on the hours consistently worked.
The model clause provides for a casual who has worked consistent hours over the previous 12 months to request their employment be converted to a permanent basis. However, while many Awards have adopted the model clause, others have modified the clause to suit and a few are yet to include the clause. It is important that each employer checks their employees’ Awards to see where they stand and the terms of any conversion clause in their Award.
Where a conversion clause has been included, Employers are required to provide each casual employee who commenced before October 2018 with a copy of the clause, as it is published in their Award, by 1 January, 2019. Any casual employee who commenced after that date must be provided with a copy of the conversion clause within 12 months of the date of their commencement. Accordingly, from this time those casual employees who meet the threshold requirement of consistency (which varies between Awards), can make a request for conversion in writing. Where such a request is made, confirmation or refusal must be provided within 4 weeks and it must include reasons for refusal.
Employers should also be aware that under the model provisions, refusal can only be on reasonable grounds, which can include:
- it would require a significant adjustment of the casual employee’s hours to be engaged as a permanent full-time or part-time employee;
- it is known or reasonably foreseeable that the position will cease to exist within the next 12 months;
- it is known or reasonably foreseeable that the hours of work required to be performed will be significantly reduced in the next 12 months;
- it is known or reasonably foreseeable that there will be a significant change in the days and/or times the employee is required to work in the next 12 months which cannot be accommodated within the days or hours which the employee is available to work.
Employers should also note that for any claims made as grounds for refusal, they must be able to show that there is substance to the claim. To assist, we have included a copy of the model clause for your information. It is important you check your individual employee’s applicable Award, as not all Awards have adopted the clause verbatim, others have their own arrangements. A searchable list of modern Awards can be found at https://www.fwc.gov.au/awards-and-agreements/awards/modern-awards/modern-awards-list