Casual terms award review 2021

Following on from the new definition of a ‘casual employee’ and new ‘casual conversion requirements’ announced this year, the Fair Work Commission has now completed the first stage of its review of relevant terms in modern awards by revising the ‘casual terms’ for an opening group of 6 modern awards.

The 6 Stage 1 awards are:

  • General Retail Industry Award 2020 (Retail Award)
  • Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2020 (Hospitality Award)
  • Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award 2020 (Manufacturing Award)
  • Educational Services (Teachers) Award 2020 (Teachers Award)
  • Pastoral Award 2020 (Pastoral Award)
  • Fire Fighting Industry Award 2020 (Fire Fighting Award)

Currently, only 5 draft determinations have been issued on 22 July 2021 for the first round of awards. These determinations are planned to come into operation on 27 September 2021.

Note: In the review process, the Fair Work Commission found that the Fire Fighting Award does not provide for casual employment, and no amendments were required.

In their latest decision, the Full Bench upheld its view that there was ‘inconsistency’ in current casual award provisions found in awards compared to the new definition of a casual found in the Fair Work Act, which will give rise to “difficulties or uncertainty”.

Upon these draft determinations, the Fair Work Commission has replaced the existing definitions of a casual employee in the Awards with either the definition in s15A or by reference to s15A of the Fair Work Act.

What is s15A?

FAIR WORK ACT 2009 – SECT 15A Meaning of casual employee (1) A person is a casual employee of an employer if: (a) an offer of employment made by the employer to the person is made on the basis that the employer makes no firm advance commitment to continuing and indefinite work according to an agreed pattern of work for the person; and (b) the person accepts the offer on that basis; and (c) the person is an employee as a result of that acceptance.

Additionally, in relation to casual conversion requirements, the FWC held that the “NES casual conversion entitlements” were more beneficial than the model Award’s casual conversion clause and removed it, referencing the NES provisions in their place. 

What should employers do?

Employers should prepare and review all casual employment arrangements in the lead up to these changes to the clauses in the awards.

CLICK HERE to view the draft determinations.

CLICK HERE to view the background and information about the “Casual terms award review 2021.”

CLICK HERE to view the latest decision.

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