10.9.8... are your ducks in a row? Casual conversion countdown - 7 days to go!
Posted on September 20, 2021
The countdown is on for all employers who employ casual staff to ensure compliance with the casual law amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) before the deadline of 27 September 2021.
Employers (other than small business owners) have until 27 September 2021 to assess whether to make a conversion offer to casuals they have employed prior to 27 March, 2021. By that date employers must either make a written offer to the eligible casual employee/s or explain why such an offer cannot be made. In addition, employers must give their existing casual employees a copy of the Casual Employment Information Statement as soon as possible after this deadline.
A more detailed summary of these changes can be found in our earlier articles Casual conversion deadline approaches – get your ducks in a row and Casual Employment Rules Clarified.
What are the consequences for non-compliance or getting it wrong?
Under the FW Act the right to casual conversion forms part of the National Employment Standards which means that substantial civil penalties may apply to any breach of these provisions. The penalties can be up to $66,660 per contravention for companies and up to $13,320 per contravention for an individual.
Also notably, employers should also be mindful that casual conversion rights will also be considered “a workplace right” for the purposes of the general protection provisions of the FW Act. These provisions prevent an employer from treating an employee less favourable because they have exercised or chosen not to exercise casual conversion rights. If any employer is found to have breached the general protection provisions, civil penalties may be imposed.
In addition, the employee (as well as the employer) has the ability to refer disputes about casual conversion to the Fair Work Commission. This includes circumstances where an employee is unhappy with a decision to not offer conversion or if the hours offered upon conversion are not aligned to the hours worked as a casual employee.
Some disputes may also be referred by the employee to the small claims jurisdiction of the Federal Circuit Court or a state or territory magistrate court for resolution.
Please get in touch with our Workplace Relations team. We can assist with reviewing your casual employment arrangements and drafting casual conversion offers.