Is your business prepared for the latest changes to the Modern Awards?

Right to request casual conversion, minimum engagement periods and rostering arrangements.

Background:

The Fair Work Commission has varied a significant number of awards as part of its Modern Award Review. The changes affect rules about casual conversion, minimum engagement periods and rostering arrangements. The changes took effect from the first full pay period on or after 1 October 2018.

How is your award impacted? Follow this link to the full Schedule of Determinations

 

Example changes using the General Retail Industry Modern Award Sub Clause

Utilising the General Retail Modern Award as an example, a summary of the key points for noting are outlined below, with a link to the full sub clause provided below.

Right to request casual conversion

A person engaged by a particular employer as a regular casual employee may request that their employment be converted to full-time or part-time employment.

 regular casual employee is a casual employee who has in the preceding period of 12 months worked a pattern of hours on an ongoing basis which, without significant adjustment, the employee could continue to perform as a full-time employee or part-time employee under the provisions of this award.

A regular casual employee who has worked equivalent full-time hours over the preceding period of 12 months’ casual employment, may request to have their employment converted to full-time employment.

A regular casual employee who has worked less than equivalent full-time hours over the preceding period of 12 months’ casual employment may request to have their employment converted to part-time employment consistent with the pattern of hours previously worked.

Further things to note include:

  • Requests must be in writing
  • Requests may be agreed to or refused by the employer
  • If the request is refused this must be on reasonable grounds and following consultation with the employee
  • Reasonable grounds for refusal include
    • it would require significant adjustment to the casual employee’s hours of work in order for the employee to be engaged as a full-time or part-time employee in accordance with the provisions of this award – that is, the casual employee is not truly a regular casual employee as previously defined;
    • it is known or reasonably foreseeable that the regular casual employee’s position will cease to exist within the next 12 months;
    • it is known or reasonably foreseeable that the hours of work which the regular casual employee is required to perform will be significantly reduced in the next 12 months; or
    • it is known or reasonably foreseeable that there will be a significant change in the days and/or times at which the employee’s hours of work are required to be performed in the next 12 months which cannot be accommodated within the days and/or hours during which the employee is available to work.
  • Any grounds of refusal to be reasonable must be based on facts that are known or reasonably foreseeable
  • Where the employer refuses a regular casual employee’s request to convert, the employer must provide the casual employee with the employer’s reasons for refusal in writing within 21 days of the request being made. If the employee does not accept the employer’s refusal, this will constitute a dispute that will be dealt with under the dispute resolution procedure outlined in the Award. Under that procedure, the employee or the employer may refer the matter to the Fair Work Commission if the dispute cannot be resolved at the workplace level.
  • Where it is agreed that a casual employee will have their employment converted to full-time or part-time employment as provided for in this clause, the employer and employee must discuss and record in writing the specifics as outlined in the sub clause.

An employer must provide a casual employee, whether a regular casual employee or not, with a copy of the provisions of this sub clause within the first 12 months of the employee’s first engagement to perform work. In respect of casual employees already employed as at 1 October 2018, an employer must provide such employees with a copy of the provisions of this sub clause by 1 January 2019.

The full General Retail Industry Modern Award Sub clause can be located at https://www.fwc.gov.au/documents/awardsandorders/html/pr700568.htm

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