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Mythbusting Monday: Casual employees have no rights

It's #MythbustingMonday so we're clearing up this employment myth about what casual employment really looks like. And yes, they do have entitlements and rights!


What is a casual employee?

Basically, a genuine casual employee works if and when it suits them and the business. They do not have to accept work when it is offered.

They have no

  • guaranteed hours of work

  • regular pattern of work

  • ongoing expectation of employment

If a casual employee works regular hours, days or is rostered on, it is likely that they are not a genuine casual employee. They are likely to be considered a permanent part-time employee in the eyes of the law.


Do they get holiday pay?

Sort of. If the employee is a genuine casual, then it is likely that their work patterns are so intermittent or irregular that it is impractical to provide them with 4 weeks’ annual holidays. Instead, they are paid an additional 8% of their pay in each pay cycle instead of accrued annual leave.


Do they get sick pay, bereavement and domestic violence leave?

Yes! If after six months they work:

  • an average of at least 10 hours a week, and

  • at least one hour a week or 40 hours a month


Can they just be fired?

Because genuine casual employees have no expectation of ongoing work after the last period they accept, an employer wouldn't have to 'fire them', they could just stop offering work.

However, there are cases where this would not apply and it may be an unjustified dismissal:

  • If the employee had already accepted the work

  • If the employer acted unreasonably

  • If the employee was not a genuine casual employee.


In conclusion

Casual employees have the same rights as permanent employees in many cases. Be wary of using casual contracts unless the employee will be a genuine casual. If an employee starts as a genuine casual, but acquires a pattern of work, they are no longer a casual so employers should monitor this in order to reduce their risk.



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