What is Casual Work?

The difference between full-time, part-time and casual work can sometimes be confusing. While it can be difficult differentiating between different employee types, the importance of appropriately classifying your employees is vital. The consequences for incorrectly classifying your employees can be quite serious including, but not limited to, breaching the relevant Modern Award or Enterprise Agreement, or even underpayment.

The nature of casual employment

Unlike a full-time or part-time employee, a casual employee has no expectation of ongoing work or guaranteed hours of work per week. Casual employees are engaged on an as-needed basis, which provides for flexibility when rostering. Casual employees do not have the same rights as permanent employees. For example, a casual employee is not entitled to the following:

  • Guaranteed hours of work;
  • Paid personal/carer’s leave (commonly referred to as sick leave);
  • Annual leave;
  • Redundancy pay; and
  • Notice of termination.

Although casual employees do not receive the above entitlements, they are entitled to 2 days unpaid carer’s leave a year, 2 days unpaid compassionate leave for each permissible occasion and unpaid community service leave. Whilst casuals do not accrue annual leave, receive redundancy pay or even have the benefit of job security as a permanent staff member does, casual employees do receive a casual loading of 25% on top of their base hourly rate of pay.

Types of casuals

There are two types of casual employees, irregular casual employees and regular and systematic casual employees. Irregular casual employees are those employees who do not work consistent hours and are used on a sporadic basis.

Long term casuals, or regular and systematic casual employees are those casuals who work regular and systematic hours (or even the same days each week), and have a general expectation of continuous work.

After 12 months of regular employment, or once a casual employee is considered long term, casual employees can:

  1. Request flexible working arrangements; and
  2. Take parental leave.

In addition, long term casual employees would generally be able to bring an unfair dismissal claim against their employer if their employment was terminated. While long term casual employees do have “extra” protections or rights than sporadic casuals, they are not entitled to notice of termination.

Do you need more information on casuals? Are you unsure as to whether your employees are classified as casuals? HR Assured offers a 24/7 telephone advisory service where you can receive advice from our experienced workplace relations consultants whenever you need it. Contact us today to find out more.