The conversion process
The Amendment Act also provides guidance on the casual conversion process that an employer needs to undertake to convert a casual engagement to a permanent one. Different processes apply if the business is a small business employer.
The process which needs to be undertaken by employers with 15 or more employees is summarised as follows:
- must be employed for 12 months;
- worked a regular pattern of hours for at least the previous six months on an ongoing basis;
- could continue to work those hours as a permanent employee without any significant changes.
- If the above criteria is met, the employer must make an offer of permanent employment.
- The employer must make the offer, in writing, before 27 September 2021, or within 21 days of the employees’ 12-month anniversary with the business, whichever is the later.
- The employee will have 21 days to accept the offer to convert to either full-time or part-time. Acceptance of the offer must be communicated by the employee to the employer in writing.
- Issuance of updated employment documentation.
As has been the case, if a business has “reasonable grounds” not to offer an employee the opportunity to convert his/her employment, they do not have to do so. However, an employer will need to ensure that they have evidence to support that this is the case and communicate this to the employee.
Small business employers are exempt from offering casual conversion. However, an employee can make a request to convert his/her employment to either full-time or part-time, if the following occurs:
- makes the request after 27 September 2021;
- has been employed for 12 months;
- worked a regular patter of hours for at least the previous six months on an ongoing basis;
- could continue to work to work those hours as a permanent employee without any significant changes;
- has not refused previous offers to become permanent in the past six months;
- has not been informed by the employer that they cannot offer permanent employment because of “reasonable business grounds”;
- has not previously been refused a request by the employer in the past six months.
If the above criteria is met, the employee will need to make his/her request in writing and 21 days after the 12 month anniversary.
The employer has 21 days from receipt of the request to respond.
If there is acceptance, new documentation should be offered by the employer.
If the request is rejected, the employer must consult and advise the employee in writing, indicating the “reasonable business grounds” for doing so. The employee will be unable to make a further request until after 6 months has passed.