Most westernised societies have very fair and clear employment laws that seek to protect both the individual worker and the employer itself. These laws have been tried and tested over many years and must be adhered to by all concerned in order to maintain a vibrant economy. Yet it may be difficult to understand these laws, and this can lead to issues on both sides, the potential for litigation and a lot of uncertainty. In particular, it is important to figure out the difference between a casual and a permanent employee, as this has a significant bearing on their rights and entitlements. What are the crucial differences and how is this situation interpreted by the courts?
When a new member of staff is first engaged, he or she will be classified as permanent or casual based on the agreement between the parties and the nature of the work. This will determine both the rate of pay and their entitlements, with a significant difference between the two categories.
Generally, a casual employee will have an extra loading applied to their basic rate, which is meant to replace the benefits that they would have received if they were permanent. In other words, they may not be eligible to receive certain entitlements or to have termination payments when they move on, unlike their permanent counterpart. The permanent employee, on the other hand, will be entitled to all of these benefits and will receive sick leave or paid holiday leave during the year.
Permanent Versus Casual
Both parties should be careful at the outset to ensure that the category of work is properly assigned. After all, the law does determine whether an employer is able to classify a staff member as casual based on a number of criteria.
For example, they may not be able to do this if they expect the employee to work a regular pattern, will provide them with predictable and certain work or intend that the employment be continuous. If those factors are present, then the employee must be categorised as permanent and not casual, meaning that he or she may be eligible for entitlements and benefits.
Some employers may decide to classify an employee as casual anyway, as this may make it easier for them to deal with their employment benefits, rosters and other matters. However, this may not always be the correct decision, and it may be necessary to take action to re-categorise employees as needed.
If you believe that you have been incorrectly classified and that this is not fair to you, then you should talk with an employment law lawyer.Share
14 October 2019
I love watching legal dramas from all different countries. I often call up my friend who is a lawyer to ask her about whether the cases I have seen on the latest drama are realistic or if they wouldn't happen that way in Australia. It's so interesting to me to see the changes that they make to make the stories flow more convincingly as well as the differences between the law in Australian compared to other countries. This blog is for other fans of legal dramas like me and has some tips on the best places to get real legal advice (hint, it's not on the TV!).