Under the Vehicle Manufacturing, Repair, Services and Retail Award 2010 (the Vehicle Award) clause 13.3, ‘regular’ casual employees are required to be given the option of electing to convert to full-time or part-time status (as appropriate) after 6 months service with an employer, or after 12 months where agreement exists.
The Vehicle Award sets out the conditions that relate to casual conversion, including the need for an employer to notify a regular casual employee in writing of the provisions of the casual conversion clause within 4 weeks of attaining the period of 6 months (or 12 months service).
A casual employee who does not respond within a four-week notice period will be deemed to have elected to remain a casual employee.
In the instance where an employee elects to convert to part-time or full-time an employer cannot unreasonably refuse such a request and can only do so where they have reasonable business reasons to do so.
Where the parties agree to the conversion, they need to then discuss and agree in writing on the new terms of engagement e.g. if going part-time what there is set hours will be. Where an employee rejects the offer to convert from causal employment, this should also be recorded in writing.
Once an employer has notified an employee of their right to convert, this obligation has been discharged and they are not required to continue offering this conversion.
This causal conversion provision is present in other modern awards including the Clerks – Private Sector Award 2010, Road Transport and Distribution Award 2010 and Passenger Vehicle Award 2010.
The Road Transport and Distribution Award 2010 contain similar provisions to that present in the Vehicle Award. The one point of difference however is that there is a requirement to be a regular and systematic causal worker for a period of 12 months before conversion should be offered as opposed to the Vehicle Awards standard 6 month period.
Both the Clerks – Private Sector Award 2010 and Passenger Vehicle Award 2010 also require the casual work to be regular and systematic for a period of 12 months. There are however, other differences to the Vehicle Award beyond this.
Under the above Awards, an employer is required to provide a copy of the relevant clause at any point within the first 12 months of the employee’s first work engagement. It is then up to the employee to request to convert once they reach this period of continuous work if they so wish, and any rejection and reasoning for doing so by the employer has to be given in writing within 21 days of the request.
The MTA can assist members with a sample letter advising ‘eligible’ casual employees of their right to elect to convert under the applicable Award. Members should contact Workplace Relations by clicking here or on 8291 2000 if they wish to discuss any of the above further.