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Update: Federal Industrial Relations Bill Receives Royal Assent

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By Chao Ni, Principal,  James Sanders, Senior Associate, Herbert Fischbacher, Principal and Jennifer Sung, Lawyer

On 18 March 2021, Parliament passed a stripped down version of the Fair Work Amendment (Supporting Australia’s Jobs and Economic Recovery) Bill 2020) (the Bill).

This Bill received Royal Assent on 26 March 2021. This means that changes made to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) in the Bill have now taken effect.

Please refer to our previous article published on 23 March 2021 which outlines these changes. In summary these changes affect all casual employees and impose new obligations on employers – Federal Industrial Relations Bill Passed by Parliament.

Casual Employment Information Statement

All employers must provide a Casual Employment Information Statement before, or as soon as practicable after, an employee starts employment as a casual employee with that employer.  This requirement is in addition to the existing requirement that the employee receive the Fair Work Information Statement.

For existing casual employees, as at 27 March 2021, the Casual Employment Information Statement must be provided as soon as practicable after 27 March 2021, for small business employers, or as soon as practicable after 27 September 2021, for employers who employ 15 or more employees.

Please click here to download a copy of the Casual Employment Information Statement.

This statement is prepared by the Fair Work Ombudsman and the most up-to-date version can be found on their website.

Casual Conversion Entitlement For Existing Casual Employees

Under the new casual conversion provisions, employers who employ 15 or more employees are required to make an offer of permanent employment to an existing casual employee before 27 September 2021 or within 21 days after the casual employee’s 12 month anniversary, whichever is later, unless there are reasonable grounds not to do so.

Those employers must make an assessment whether to make an offer of permanent employment to its existing casual employees as at 27 March 2021 by no later than 6 September 2021.

Those employers must then, before 27 September 2021, either:

  1. make an offer of permanent employment to each existing casual employee who meets the below criteria; or
  2. provide written reasons to the existing casual employee explaining the reasonable grounds why an offer of permanent employment was not made.

An offer to an existing casual employee to become a permanent employee must be made if:

  1. the casual employee has been employed for at least 12 months at the time of the assessment by 6 September 2021; and
  2. during at least the last 6 months from the time the assessment is made, the employee has worked a regular pattern of hours on an ongoing basis which, without significant adjustment, the employee could continue to work as a full-time employee or a part-time employee (as the case may be).

If you currently employ any casual employees or are looking to engage any casual employees in the future, we recommend that you contact one of our experienced employment lawyers at MST Lawyers who can assist you in understanding and managing the legislative changes.

We offer fixed fee solutions to assist you in meeting your employer obligations in relation to engaging casual employees and casual conversion.  Contact us today by email or by phone +61 3 8540 0200.