An employment contract operates to pinpoint all relevant aspects of employment and outline these in one document. Employment contracts are always necessary, however their contents differ slightly depending on the permanent or casual status of the employee. As casual employees have less commitment and irregular working arrangements, their contracts need to specify both employer and employee duties and obligations surrounding the position. Aspects covered in casual employment contracts include, job information, employment classification, company policies, hours of work, payment, and dismissal. Both the employee and employer must understand and agree upon all the contract terms when employment initiates.
What is an employment contract?
An employment contract is a binding agreement existing between an employee and employer that sets out conditions of employment. Contracts aim to identify key terms of employment and can be verbal or written. National Employment Standards (NES) and awards exist to protect employees regardless if their contract agrees to below legal minimums.
Classification of a casual employee.
Casual employees have no commitment to accepting shifts alongside employers having no obligation to offer hours of work. Traits of such employees include irregular and unguaranteed hours, no paid leave entitlements, and employees can be terminated with short notice. Casual loading rates, a 25% increase to permanent employee rates, is an entitlement of an employee to compensate of work irregularity.
What is included in casual employment contacts?
A casual employment contract should cover :
- Job title
- Duties and expectations
- General terms and conditions of employment
- Ordinary hours of work
- Casual conversion
- Superannuation contributions
- Dispute resolution processes
Generally the employees title, position, and obligations must be identified within this section of a contract. To ensure both the employee and employer understand the essence of the role, essential functions and expectations should be expressed.
General terms and conditions of employment
The employment contract must identify the general terms and conditions of employment, including minimum expectations, leave entitlements, and company policies. Casual employees are entitled to 2 days carer and compassionate leave, 5 days family and domestic leave, and unpaid community service leave. Any relevant company policies including anti-discrimination, harassment, and technology privacy policies would also be mentioned here. Therefore, when signed, all parties agree adherence to these policies is an essential condition of employment.
Payment and hours of work
Casual employment contracts must acknowledge the employee is casual status and is not entitled to regular hours of work. Alongside this, the relevant rates of pay, methods of payment, and payment frequency should be stated. As previously mentioned, casuals receive casual loading to compensate for general employment instability. This clause should acknowledge the minimum rates and the awards and enterprise agreements that protect these.
Casual conversion clause
Casual conversion clauses identify a casual employee and their employer’s right to request and deny a change of employment status. Such conversions are usually to a permanent position being either part or fulltime. A casual working increased and reoccurring hours can prompt employment conversion.
If an employee is over the age of 18 and earning $450 or more in a working month they are eligible to receive superannuation contributions. An employment contract should acknowledge this employee’s right and their employer’s duty to make these contributions.
A confidentiality clause is necessary when a casual employee has knowledge and access to privy information. It should be acknowledge the employees obligation not to disclose any information confidential in nature and the employers right to take action if this duty is breached.
Awards and enterprise agreements commonly contain dispute resolution procedures and the rights and obligations of those involved. This clause should note the existence of such procedures so employees are aware of their entitlements and protections. Employer’s right to engage in disciplinary action if terms and conditions are breached is also mentioned within this section of a contract. Such action can include performance enhancement plans or dismissal depending on the severity of the breach.
Noted in termination clauses are the relevant grounds and procedures exist to ensure employees are fairly dismissed. As casual employees are not entitled to continual work, the Fair Work Ombudsman states there is no minimum notice period for dismissal.
NES protect employees rights to a fair dismissal and should be outlined within the termination clause. Grounds for a fair dismissal include an employee lacking capacity, failing to perform, misconduct, and redundancy. Employee’s have the right to make a claim to the Fair Work Commission if they believe they have been unfairly dismissed. This right and potential avenues to make a claim should be explained.
Casual employment contracts should cover all aspects of employment ranging from job title to termination. When drafting a casual employment contract it is necessary to identify all terms of employment. The contract must express any term or condition which will be relied upon during the period of employment.
If you are a casual employee or employer and are uncertain of which awards and enterprise agreements relate to your rights, duties, and employment contracts, the Fair Work Ombudsman website offers a simple process to assist you in identifying these.