The 2021 casual employment changes we mentioned in March have been granted Royal Assent and are now operational under the law. Under the amendment to the Fair Work Act 2009, there is now a definition of casual employee to observe, updated National Employment Standards (NES) and a newly implemented statement of information for casual employees. 

What do you need to do about these casual employment amendments, now that they’re law? Read on to find out.

Change #1: The Casual Employment Information Statement

Similar to the concept of the Fair Work Information Statement, as a small business employer, you are now required to provide your existing casual employees (employed before 27 March 2021) a copy of the ‘Casual Employment Information Statement (CEIS)’ as soon as possible. All other employers have to give their existing casual employees a copy of the CEIS as soon as possible after 27 September 2021. 

To keep in line with your ongoing obligations, we recommend that it is best practice to give every new casual employee the CEIS before, or as soon as possible after, they commence working for you. This can be done electronically or by giving a physical copy to your employee. 

The Statement can also be a useful tool for you as an employer, to understand the new concepts created by these employment law amendments.

Change #2: New Definition of ‘Casual Employee’

The Fair Work Act has been amended to include a definition of ‘casual employee’.

Under the definition, a person is a casual employee if they accept a job offer from you, 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 either:

  • become a permanent employee through:
    • casual conversion, or
    • are offered and accept the offer of full-time or part-time employment by you, or
  • stop being employed by you.

For ‘existing’ casuals, i.e. casuals who were employed immediately before 27 March 2021 and whose initial employment offer meets the new definition, they will continue to be considered as casual employees under the amended legislation.

Change #3: The Updated National Employment Standards (NES)

The NES have also been updated to reflect the amendment to casual employment. There has been a new NES inserted as number 3 and the now eleventh standard has been amended to include the CEIS. The NES are now as follows:

The 11 minimum entitlements of the NES are:

  • Maximum weekly hours 
  • Requests for flexible working arrangements
  • Offers and requests to convert from casual to permanent employment
  • Parental leave and related entitlements
  • Annual leave
  • Personal/carer’s leave, compassionate leave and unpaid family and domestic violence leave
  • Community service leave
  • Long service leave
  • Public holidays
  • Notice of termination and redundancy pay
  • Fair Work Information Statement and Casual Employment Information Statement

As we have explored, the casual employment amendments require your urgent attention and action. You need to be aware that the National Employment Standards have changed, as have your obligations in relation to casual employees. You must provide casuals with the Casual Information Statement, comply with the requirements of casual conversion and understand the new definition of casual employee. 

We understand that this can be a lot to navigate. Contact our team at The Quinn Group for advice and information tailored to your circumstances to ensure that you are meeting your employment law obligations.

Need Help?

If you would like help with respect to any area of employment law, including knowing more about casual employment, please contact one of our experienced lawyers by submitting an online enquiry, calling us on 1300 QUINNS or alternatively, +61 2 9223 9166 to arrange a teleconference or appointment. 

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