Casual & Part-Time Workers’ Rights And Entitlements in Australia

Whether you are searching for a casual or a permanent part time job in NSW, Australia, being aware of what your employment status means can be critical for protecting your rights and entitlements at work. 

Permanent part-time workers

A part time worker is one who works a few hours a week when compared to a full- time workers. The employees have ongoing employment and are required to work regularly. They are granted entitlements such as sick leave, parental or annual leave on a pro-rata basis, according to the hours they work. Part-time workers are expected to adhere to the terms and conditions specified by instruments and must give or receive notice to end their employment.  

Who can become a Part-Time Employee?

Generally, part time workers are those who

Work less than 38 hours a week

Are on a fixed-term contract or a permanent employee

Work regular hours each week

These employees enjoy the same benefits as a full- time benefits as a full- time employee but on a pro-rata basis. However, even while working less, part time employees provide the flexibility of labor when compared to their full -time counterparts. 

How are the entitlements given to a part-time employee different from that of a full- time employee?

As mentioned earlier, unlike a full-time worker,   the entitlements of a part time worker are based on a pro-rata basis. To understand this, take a look at this example listed below. 

Rebecca is a part time employee who works for about 19 hours per week (5 days a fortnight). Suzanne who is a full-time employee works for 38 hours, 5 days a week. So, while Suzanne will be entitled to get paid sick or carer’s leave for 10 days (76 hours), Rebecca will be entitled to get only 50% of Suzanne’s paid leave because of the 50% fewer work hours she put in when compared to Suzanne. 

Casual Employees

In Australia, the responsibilities of a casual worker include informing his employer in advance regarding the hours or days he or she will work for his employer. In general, a casual employee works whenever his employer will want him to do so.  The employees are offered to work on a requirement basis. When compared to full — time employees who work for longer hours, (38 hours per week), casual employees work irregular hours. As a result, a casual worker does not have any guaranteed ongoing work or job security. 

Who Can Become A Casual Worker? 

A casual employee is the one who –

  • Does not guarantee weekly hours
  • Do not get any sick or annual leave
  • Usually works for irregular hours

There are two types of casual employees — regular and systematic casuals and irregular casuals. While the former type of casual employee works for regular hours and can expect ongoing work, the latter does not guarantee hours or expect ongoing work.

A great benefit of being a casual worker is that he /she is entitled to higher pay rates when compared to those received by a permanent part time worker.  This type of arrangement known as ‘casual loading” helps compensate the workers for their job insecurity and also helps them recover loss of other benefits such as paid sick or annual leave. Generally, the loading is between 15 % – 33% more than the usual hourly rates provided to their counterparts. Also, a casual worker is not entitled to receive a minimum notice period before the termination period. As a result, a worker can neither be sacked nor can quit without giving notice. 

What does a casual worker get? 

A casual employee is entitled to get –

  1. High pay rates when compared to full- time or part-time employees
  2. 2 days unpaid carer’s leave and compassionate leave per occasion
  3. Unpaid community service leave

Entitlements for long- term casual employees

Under the Fair Work Act, casual employees working for a long period become “long term casuals”

Casual workers stay long term casual provided there is no relation change with their employer. In such cases, a mutual commitment for ongoing work on an agreed pattern is provided to them. 

Casual entitlements are provided to long term casuals irrespective of whether or not they worked long hours or how regularly they work. 

An employee has worked for about a year for an employer on a casual basis and is likely to continue working in the future too, the employee can —

  • Take parental leave
  • Request for flexible working arrangements 

However, such employees will not be entitled to get paid leave or notice of termination, despite working regularly for long periods. 

Can a casual employee become a full-time or part-time employee?

A casual can change to a part-time or full-time employee, provided both the employer and employee agree to it. The process of changing has a minimum process. Some of the enterprise agreements and other registered agreements required for the change have a similar process. 

Also, the casual conversion clauses of some Modern Awards allow a casual worker to change to a permanent one.  This can be done only if a casual worker has been working at a regular and systematic rate for a year and if there is a reasonable expectation that he will continue to this casual work. 

If you a long term casual employee, you can —

  • Ask for parental leave
  • Can reject work if you find it unsafe 
  • Apply for more flexible work arrangements
  • Have the right workers compensation
  • Can talk about the conditions at work
  • Have safe pieces of equipment
  • Have the right to reasonable pay and conditions
  • Have to right to learn about work safety
  • Have the right to be consulted regarding workplace safety
  • Have the right to a fair and just workplace

If you have any health concerns, your supervisor or health and safety representative can help you report your problems to your employer on your behalf. Also, if you are working with a labour-hire agency or group training organization, you can report your work health and safety concerns to them.