For many businesses Christmas means more stock, more sales and…a shortage of labour!
No matter how much planning and preparation is put into the Christmas frenzy period, finding staff on short notice and for a short time is always problematic
for businesses. A hastily written Seek ad or a post on a Facebook community page often means there has been little thought put into the job description,
the job requirements, the legal documentation and the calibre of the candidate appointed.
A rushed hire of a casual employee opens your business up to multiple risks. With poorly communicated expectations and the absence of important paperwork to ensure the employee works appropriately, the casual employee becomes a liability of potentially harmful consequences.
How is a casual worker defined?
A casual worker is a person who is engaged by a business, but they do not have regular or systematic hours of work - nor do they have a reasonable
expectation of continuing work. A casual worker does not commit to do all work an employer might offer. Casuals are usually employed daily, as
and when the need arises – they therefore have no guarantee hours of work.
Casuals, like other employees in the workplace, have workplace rights and are entitled to some (but not all) of the benefits given to permanent employees. Casual employees don’t get holiday pay or sick leave, but they are entitled to a higher pay rate (called Casual Loading – usually 25%), parental leave and in some instances, are protected from unfair dismissals.
6 things you should do
Before falling into the trap of employing casuals in a rush, businesses are encouraged to take these steps:
- Ensure you have workplace policies and procedures in place which sets out a Code of Conduct and what you expect from your employees. These policies
may include policies dealing with sexual harassment, drug and alcohol, use of social media, disciplinary processes and harassment and discrimination
- Upon commencement of employment, provide a copy of the workplace policies and procedures to the casual employee;
- Require the casual employee to sign a Letter of Engagement tailored to casuals – a free template is available HERE.
- Prepare and provide the casual worker with a proper job description which sets out your expectations for the role. Putting this in writing will
assist you in complying with the relevant Award (see point 5);
- Make sure you know which Modern Award will cover the casual employee, what his/her entitlements are and what the business’ obligations are under
the Modern Award. If necessary, seek legal advice in relation to the Modern Award and the casual’s classification under the relevant Award.
- Provide the casual employee with a copy of a Fair Work Information Statement and make sure the employee signs a form acknowledging the receipt
thereof – for a copy of the Fair Work Information Statement click HERE.
To make sure this Christmas is different, put into action our six simple steps. This will give you peace of mind as you engage casual workers for this festive season. We encourage all business owners who intend to employ casual employees over this Christmas period, to contact Frank Law for information and advice.
About the author: Philip van den Heever directs the Commercial Law, Employment Law and Industrial Relations practice groups as Practice Lead and Matter Manager. He has over 16 years of commercial law experience in both South Africa and Australia.