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Don't be 'casual' about your casual employees!

Updated: Apr 28, 2022

Casual employment has come under the microscope again in a recent court decision which found an employee who was paid a casual loading was in fact a permanent employee and entitled to paid leave.

Despite the employment agreement describing the employee as a casual and receiving a casual loading, the employee in this case was considered a permanent employee because he worked regular and predictable hours based on a roster he received in advance. The employer was unable to offset the casual loading it had paid against the paid leave entitlements, meaning the employee was entitled to receive the benefit of both payments.

This case has potentially costly consequences for businesses who employ casual workers. For an employee to be a ‘casual’, their engagement must be just that – casual, unpredictable and irregular. Merely working varying days and hours each week may not be enough to meet the definition of casual employment.

I’m an employer – what does this mean for me?

Employers should review their:

  1. Workforce to determine whether casual employees should be transitioned to permanent employment

  2. Employment contracts to address employees’ eligibility to receive a casual loading and paid leave entitlements.

It is clear employers should not take a ‘casual’ approach to engaging casual employees.

If you would like assistance reviewing your casual employee arrangements, our employment team are here to help.

Ruby Nielsen, Senior Associate (07) 3307 4551

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