HR Tips Q4 2021 - Casual Conversion to Continuing Employment Assessment
This Quarter’s HR Tip will guide you through the recent amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 and the University’s new practices with respect to the assessment of a casual staff member’s eligibility for conversion to continuing employment.
What are the University’s obligations to offer continuing employment to casual staff?
The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) was amended on 26 March 2021 to include new casual conversion provisions. Under the new provisions, the University is required to assess each casual staff member who has reached 12 months’ service and offer conversion to part-time or full-time, continuing employment where:
- The staff member has, during at least the last 6 months (of the 12 months’ service), worked a regular pattern of hours on an ongoing basis (assessed by contract) which, without significant adjustment, the staff member could continue to work as a full-time or part-time staff member; and
- there are no reasonable grounds to not offer conversion; and
- the reasonable grounds are based on facts that are known, or reasonably foreseeable, at the time an assessment was undertaken.
Can a casual staff member request conversion to continuing employment?
Casual staff members also have a right under the Fair Work Act to initiate a request to convert to continuing employment. They may do so provided:
- they haven’t refused an offer to become a continuing staff member in the last 6 months; and
- the University hasn’t advised the staff member, in the last 6 months, that they will not be offered conversion to continuing employment based on reasonable grounds; and
- the University hasn’t already refused a request from the casual staff member to become a permanent staff member (based on reasonable grounds) in the last 6 months.
What steps has the University taken to assess if casual staff are eligible for conversion?
The University was required by 27 September 2021, to assess certain casual staff for their eligibility to be converted to continuing employment. These assessments are now complete and staff have been advised of the outcome of the assessments.
The University has also conducted further assessments as required by the legislation with respect to casual staff who have reached 12 months’ service since 27 September 2021.
Assessments will continue to occur on a fortnightly basis alongside fortnightly payroll periods.
To date, over 2,000 casual staff employment engagements have been reviewed by the University to determine whether a staff member is eligible to be converted to continuing employment.
What does the University’s assessment process entail?
The following process is undertaken by the University on a fortnightly basis to assess if casual staff are eligible for conversion to continuing employment:
- Data detailing a casual staff member’s service and hours of work (based on timesheet data) is provided to the local area for preliminary assessment.
- The local area assesses whether the staff member has a regular pattern of hours and/or whether reasonable grounds exist to not offer conversion.
- The preliminary assessment is returned to the HR Branch.
- The Executive Director, Human Resources reviews the preliminary assessment and confirms the final outcome.
- The outcome is communicated to the casual staff member within 21 days of the staff member having completed 12 months’ service.
- If the staff member is eligible for conversion, an offer is made to the casual staff member to convert from casual to continuing employment. The casual staff member has the right to decline the offer. If the offer is accepted, a new contract of employment is generated for continuing employment.
- If the staff member is not eligible to be converted, the staff member continues their employment as a casual staff member, under their existing contract of employment.
Further considerations for Supervisors & Casual Coordinators
Casual contracts should only be raised through CAPS for the duration over which the work is required to be performed. Issuing casual contracts for periods beyond actual work dates may distort the term of engagement and impact the casual assessment process.
Creating new casual contracts for the purpose of increasing the number of hours / sessions will impact the casual assessment process.
It is important that timesheets are validated and submitted on time to ensure all relevant timesheet data are included in casual assessments. Further information is available on the CAPS dedicated webpage.
Your HR Advisor is here to assist if have any questions regarding the above. In addition, please do not hesitate to contact the Casual Assessment team c/o firstname.lastname@example.org with any queries.