16 Sep Deadline looming for casual conversion offers
Deadline looming for casual conversion offers – 27 SEPTEMBER 2021
Following the changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 (National Employment Standards) with regard to casual conversion obligations, employers now have less than two weeks left to assess whether to offer permanent employment to casual employees who were hired before 27 March 2021.
Employers (other than small employers) need to assess whether to make a conversion offer to casuals based on the following criteria:
- the employee has been employed by the employer for 12 months;
- the employee has worked a regular pattern of hours for at least the last six months; and
- the employee could continue working these hours as a full-time or part-time employee without significant changes.
Following the assessment, employers have 21 days to make a conversion offer to eligible employees. The offer needs to be in writing setting out the terms and conditions associated with full-time or part-time employment, the new rate of pay that would apply, and the timeframe within which the employee needs to accept the offer.
If an employer assesses that an employee is not eligible for conversion, the employee must be advised in writing BY 27 September 2021, stating the reasons why they are not eligible, which can be one or a combination of the following, ie:
- the employee hasn’t worked a regular pattern of hours:
- on an ongoing basis for at least the last 6 months
- which they could continue working as a full-time or part-time employee without significant changes
- the business has reasonable grounds for not making an offer.
In either case, but more so if not offering conversion, it is important to provide as much detail as possible so that the employee has an understanding of the basis on which the decision has been made. Using general terms may increase the risk of a dispute arising or complaints being made. Providing information and a reasonable explanation of the decisions made may lead to easier acceptance by the employee.
Employees must then respond within 21 days, or employers can assume the offer was declined. Following this initial offer, employers have no further obligation to make another offer. However, casual employees may still request a conversion at intervals of 6 months thereafter.
NOTE: The above requirements do NOT apply to small employers, ie less than 15 employees.