Casual employees are the backbone of many organisations within Australia, and a common way of hiring for a lot of SME's.
Until recently the FairWork Act 2009 never defined what a casual employee was, this was left to the courts, and as such a lot of confusion has arisen over the years as to when a casual is not a casual, and when they merge into being a permanent employee.
There have been many cases where this confusion and lack of monitoring of casual employees work patterns, have led small and medium businesses to resolve the confusion in court, like in the recent WorkPac case WorkPac Pty Ltd v Rossato  FCAFC 84 .
Thankfully there has now been some clarity put in place. On the 27th March 2021, the FairWork Act 2009 has been amended and implemented with many significant changes around workplace rights and obligations to casual employees and their employers.
The FairWork Act 2009 now defines a casual employee as a person who is offered and accepts employment on the basis that the employer makes no firm advance commitment to continuing and indefinite work, according to an agreed pattern of work.
Under the FairWork Act 2009 for casual employees, the following areas are now taken into consideration:
Whether the employer can elect to offer work.
The ability of the employee to accept or decline work.
Whether the employee will work only as required, according to their employer's needs.
Whether the employment is described as casual employment.
Whether the employee is entitled to receive casual loadings or a specific rate of pay.