Changes to the workplace entitlements and obligations for casual employees came into effect on March 27 this year, including the requirement to convert casuals to permanent employee status after 12 months.
The Fair Work Act was amended to include this pathway, as well as a new definition of casual employee and an obligation to provide a copy of the Casual Employment Information Statement to new employees. A summary of the reforms, and a copy of the Statement, can be found here. The statement has been recently updated (May).
The ABGC encourages any growers or banana business managers to contact their HR specialist with concerns or questions. Growcom also offers some (paid) resources for those in horticulture industry here.
From the Fair Work Ombudsman:
Employers (with more than 15 employees) must provide their employees with the Casual Employment Information Statement. They also need to make a written offer to convert their casual employees to permanent employment within 21 days of the employee’s 12 month anniversary, if the employee:
- Has been employed by the employer for 12 months
- Has worked a regular pattern of hours on an ongoing basis for at least the last 6 months
- Could continue working these hours as a full-time or part-time employee without significant changes.
More details about this specific requirement can be found here.
Please note the requirements are different for Small Businesses (less than 15 employees), where an offer does not have to be made but an employee can request casual conversion after 12 months. Employers then have 21 days to respond. Reasonable grounds for refusing a request are here.
You still need to adhere by other rules and provide a copy of the Casual Employment Information Statement. Details here.
Please note, while Fair Work is updating modern Awards in line with these changes, at this stage you still need to consider any relevant Awards during this process.