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Mythbusting Mondays: Casual Employment

#mythbusting Some employers think that casual employment is an easy way to have flexible staff and avoid paying out sick leave and other entitlements. Unfortunately, it's not that simple!

What is genuine casual employment?

Genuine casual employees do not have a pattern of work or an ongoing expectation of work. Each time they accept work, whether that is for a shift or a week of shifts, it is considered a new engagement. Employers don't have to offer any work, and employees don't have to accept it if they do.

What entitlements do they get?


  • Minimum wage

  • 8% annual leave paid as they go

  • Kiwisaver

  • Time and a half for public holidays (and a day in lieu for public holidays if it's an otherwise working day)

If they have worked for the you for six months for an average of 10 hours per week, and at least one hour in every week or 40 hours in every month:

  • Sick pay

  • Bereavement leave

  • Domestic violence leave

When is it not genuine casual employment?

If an employee has a pattern of work, ie, works every Friday or 5-10 hours every week, they may not be genuine casuals.

What happens if you get it wrong?

If an employee isn't a genuine casual, they may be able to raise a grievance and you may need to repay them an entitlements that you have not given them. This can include paying their annual leave in a lump sum, even if you paid 8% as they go. This is even the case if they have a casual contract.

If you stop giving them work or dismiss them without following a good process and they were not genuinely casual, then they may be able to seek compensation or reinstatement.

In a nutshell...

Its better to err on the side of caution and keep an eye on the work patterns of any casual employees as you go. If in doubt, seek advice.


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