On 1 October 2018, 85 modern awards were varied so as to insert provisions entitling casual employees to request conversion to permanent employment following 12 months of regular casual employment.
Under the new casual conversion provisions, a request to convert to either full-time or part-time employment:
- must be made by the casual employee in writing
- must be genuinely considered by the employer (which must consult with the employee about the request)
- may only be refused by the employer on reasonable business grounds
- must be responded to by the employer notifying the employee in writing of their decision within 28 days of the request
These provisions were inserted into those modern awards that did not already contain casual conversion clauses. Any modern award that already contained a casual conversion provision remains unchanged.
Watch this space …. In late December 2018, the Coalition announced that it plans to introduce legislation in early 2019 so as to incorporate casual conversion into the National Employment Standards. Such legislation, if passed, will provide all casual employees with the right to request conversion to permanent employment, including those who are not covered by a modern award or enterprise agreement containing a conversion clause.