Changes to Casual Employment in Australia: The ‘Casual Employment Information Statement’

The long-awaited amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) with respect to casual employment passed late last month, albeit in a substantially reduced form.

The FW Act was revised to include a statutory definition of a “casual employee”. Under this definition, a person will be classified as a “casual employee” if the person has been offered employment without a “firm advance commitment to continuing and indefinite work according to an agreed pattern of work” and the person accepts that offer. It follows that the question of whether a person is a casual employee is now to be assessed based on the offer of employment and not the subsequent conduct of the parties (such as the employee’s hours and pattern of work). Further amendments were made to alter casual employees’ minimum entitlements under the FW Act. In particular, new pathways have been created for casual employees to seek conversion to permanent employment.

These amendments to the FW Act are addressed in a new Casual Employment Information Statement (CEIS) that has been prepared by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Employers are obligated to provide both existing and new casual employees with a copy of the CEIS.

For existing casual employees, Small Business Employers need to provide a copy of the CEIS as soon as possible after 27 March 2021.

For other employers, it must be provided as soon as possible after 27 September 2021.

For new casual employees, employers must give a CEIS before, or as soon as possible after, they commence work.

A copy of the CEIS can be downloaded from the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website, accessible here.

Addisons’ employment law team can help employers meet their obligations with respect to the employment of casuals under the recent amendments to the FW Act.

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