As an employer of casual staff who are covered under a Modern Award you must give a copy of the relevant casual conversion clause to all of your casual staff within the first 12 months of the employee commencing work. Once the employer has provided the casual employee with the casual conversion clause the employer is not required to do anything further unless they receive a request in writing from a casual employee for conversion of their employment. In order to request a right to conversion the casual employee must:
- Have worked for the employer for a period of 12 months or more, and
- Have over the 12 months prior worked a number of hours that have across an ongoing basis formed a pattern that could continue to be performed by a full time or part time employee without the need for any significant adjustment.
An employer does have grounds to refuse the request of a casual employee to be converted to full time and/or part time status. Reasonable grounds of refusal are listed at paragraph (7) of the above sample clause.
The distinction between a casual employee and a full time and/or part-time employee has significant implications for employers in relation to correct rates of pay and an employers’ obligations in relation to accrued entitlements for full time and/or part-time employees such as annual leave, sick leave and long service leave.
Failing to uphold your obligations as an employer under a Modern Award can have serious and significant implications. If the Fair Work Ombudsman conducts an audit of your business and finds noncompliance the consequences can include:
- An infringement notice that includes incurring a monetary penalty under the Fair Work Act 2009,
- Legal proceedings being commenced against you by the Fair Work Ombudsman,
- Negative reviews by employees with the potential to lower the reputation and goodwill of your business, and
- A decrease in the morale and productivity of staff members who have been impacted by your noncompliance of the Modern Award.