A Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission has announced its decision in the Casual and Part-Time Employment Common Issues case and released a draft model clause.
This will dramatically affect casual work arrangements across the Australian workforce.
This decision establishes an important right for who are deemed to be “regular casual” employees, these are employees who can demonstrate an on-going pattern of employment.
Under the draft model clause, after 12 months service, employees will now have the right to request either full time (if working 38 hours per week) or part time (working less than 38 hours per week) and a request for conversion can only be refused for genuine operational reasons.
Professionals Australia’s Director of Industrial Relations, Michael Butler welcomed the decision, saying it is an important breakthrough in protecting the rights of professions.
“The right to convert from casual employment to either full-time or part time employment will enable employees to take advantage of basic entitlements such as annual leave and sick leave that many people take for granted. This will be particularly important for recent graduates who have little bargaining power”.
Modern awards covering professional employees where these changes are likely to apply include the Professional Employees Award (which is the largest award employing technology based professionals across a diverse range of industries in the non-government sector), Surveying Award, Architects Award, Hydrocarbon Field Geologists Award, and the Animal Care and the Veterinary Services Award.
What’s next? Unions and employers will have an opportunity to respond to the draft model and make submissions, including how it will be applied to various awards.