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08 December 2020

Casual workers ‘must’ be offered permanent employment and definition of a ‘casual’ – changes announced to workplace laws

The Federal Government has announced a host of reforms set to be introduced to Parliament on Wednesday 9 December, including that casual workers who meet certain criteria must be offered permanent employment. The reforms also include a definition of a ‘casual’.

The Federal Government has announced it will table its new IR omnibus Bill on Wednesday 9 December, which is set to include a number of changes for casual workers and those who employ them.

Due to be introduced this week, the IR omnibus Bill will include a definition of casual employment and provide criteria for when employers must offer permanent employment.

In an effort to address ‘double dipping’ by employees, the Bill will contain provisions allowing employers to offset any loadings paid against future claims for other benefits.

The Bill will also include:

  • a more flexible interpretation of the Better Off Overall Test by the Fair Work Commission
  • award simplification for employers to pay loaded rates
  • criminal charges for employers who egregiously, recklessly and knowingly underpay workers.

With the Bill still subject to change, the exact nature of the provisions are uncertain. Employers should ensure they are aware of the amendments as and when they are released, and that those with casual workforces are ready to implement the requisite changes.

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This publication is for information only and is not legal advice. You should obtain advice that is specific to your circumstances and not rely on this publication as legal advice. If there are any issues you would like us to advise you on arising from this publication, please let us know.

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