Bakery Chief

The Fair Work Commission has recently handed down a decision with respect to the status of casual employees in the retail, fast food, and hair and beauty industries.

Casual employees in these industries approaching 12 months service (with an employer) may request to be converted to a permanent employee, and the employer must provide the employee with a copy of the ‘casual conversion clause’ that the Commission will insert into the awards.

The employer may refuse the conversion on reasonable grounds, such as if they can prove the employee’s hours of work will significantly change or if their position will not exist within the next twelve months.

The unions claim the decision was designed to give casual employees greater job security.

Whilst similar provisions are not unknown in the modern award system, the sudden addition of this provision to 80 awards will have a profound effect on human resources management and legal compliance across many industries.

Also in this decision, the Commission determined that casuals under the retail, fast food and hair and beauty awards should be entitled to receive overtime pay.

Previously, casuals under these awards have not been entitled to overtime loadings on the basis that casuals specify the times when they are available to work.

On examining how casuals are typically employed, the Commission determined that, in addition to having the opportunity to avail themselves of permanency, casuals should also receive overtime loadings.

Overtime loadings will apply to casuals working outside the ‘span of hours’ or more than nine hours in a day under the retail award; to casuals working in excess of 11 hours in a day under the fast food award, and to casuals working in excess of 10 ½ hours in a day under the hair and beauty award.

The final determinations in this matter are still being written, and we do not yet know how the Commission is going to implement these changes given that the financial year has now started.

Watch this space for updates and more information on the decision.

If you want to know more about this decision and how it might effect your business, contact the NRA today on 1800 RETAIL (1800 738 245).