Employing Staff Casually Vs Part-Time

Here are the basics you need to consider when deciding between casual or part-time staff

When you require an employee for less than 38 hours per week, you have a choice as to how to employ them. Usually the first thing to consider is whether you need some flexibility in the team member’s hours. Do you only require the person to fill-in at your busiest times or will they be needed consistently throughout the year?

Casual Provisions

If flexibility is the most important factor, you should consider a casual engagement. A casual employee is paid by the hour and receives a 25% loading on their hourly rate because they do not accrue annual leave or sick leave and are not paid for public holidays – unless they actually work on the day.

You should note that the standard casual loading does vary depending on what day of the week is being worked and whether the hours represent overtime. By definition, a ‘casual’ is someone whose employment is uncertain and irregular.
Under the terms of the Vehicle Manufacturing Repair Services and Retail Award (aka the Vehicle Award) a casual who has been employed for six months must be advised that he/she can apply to become a permanent part-timer. You are not obliged to grant the request if there are good reasons for maintaining the casual contract. The most likely reason for refusing the request would be that the business requires the flexibility that a casual engagement provides. The Clerks Private Sector Award has no such obligation regarding part-time conversion. Under the Vehicle Award a casual can be employed for as little as an hour per engagement, while the Clerks Private Sector Award provides for a minimum of three hours per engagement.

Part-time Provisions

Where you require an employee for regular, fixed hours you should consider a permanent part-time engagement.

A part-time employee must have fixed hours and days of employment which are set out in writing at time of engagement. Any hours worked outside of the agreed days and times becomes overtime and must be paid for at overtime rates.
A part-time employee is paid the same hourly rate as a full-time permanent employee, but only for the actual hours worked. They accrue annual leave and sick leave in proportion to the hours worked. Also, part-time employees are paid for public holidays if a public holiday falls on one of the days they would normally work. Annual leave accrues at the rate of one-thirteenth of the ordinary hours worked per week and sick leave accrues at the rate of one twenty-sixth of the ordinary hours worked.

For more information seek guidance from your professional advisor or contact MTA Global – email info@aada.asn.au to register and access AADA Industrial Relations and Workplace Health and Safety related services at a special member rate.

Ted Kowalski

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