Politics

Casual Workers Can Now Ask Their Bosses For A Permanent Position Instead. Here’s How To Do It.

Make sure you learn about your new rights.

casual workers now have new rights to request permanent employment

Great news for casual workers — as of this Monday, you now have the right to ask your boss for a permanent position after you’ve worked for a year in your casual role. What’s more, your boss has to seriously consider that request and give you an actual reason if they refuse it.

For many casual workers, this has the potential to be a really important power — having a permanent role means getting paid sick and annual leave, as well as some job security. Here’s how it works, and what you need to do.

How To Ask Your Boss To Make You A Permanent Employee

We wrote about the proposed changes for casual workers back in July 2017, but there have been a few updates since then. Make sure to check out the Fair Work website to check whether the rules apply to your job specifically.

In general, though, this is how the new rules work: if you’re a casual worker who has worked hours that are pretty close to part-time or full-time hours over the course of a year, you’re entitled to ask your employer to make you a permanent part-time or full-time employee. Basically, if it seems like the hours you’ve been working for the past year could just as easily be described as part-time or full-time work, it’s worth having a crack.

All you need to do to make the request is tell your employer, in writing, that you’re requesting to change to full-time or part-time employment — this can just be in a letter or email to your boss.

Your boss is required by law to take this request seriously, and they can only say no if there’s a valid reason. For example, your employer can say no if you haven’t actually been working regular hours, if your hours will need to change significantly to be considered full or part-time work, or if your job won’t exist in the next 12 months. If your request is refused, your employer has to give you the reasons for refusing it in writing, which means you can take them to Fair Work if you disagree.

Also, Your Boss Needs To Tell You About Your New Rights

Your employer also needs to tell you about these new rights — at some point during your first year of employment, you should receive something in writing which lets you know you have the rights we just described.

There are also a few things your employer isn’t allowed to do. Your workplace can’t fire and then re-hire you to stop you from building up the year of work necessary to apply for a permanent position. Your boss is also not allowed to just change your hours at the last minute to avoid having to give you a permanent role. If you think your workplace is doing anything along these lines, get in touch with Fair Work.

Is It Better To Be A Casual Or Permanent Employee?

Whether you use these new powers is totally up to you — depending on your circumstances, you might prefer to remain a casual employee instead of requesting a permanent position. Casual employees typically earn a higher hourly rate and can have more flexible hours than permanent employees, which might suit you.

On the flip side, businesses can fire casual employees or cut their shifts with much less notice, which can be stressful if you depend on stable income and work hours. As we mentioned above, permanent employees also build up paid annual leave and sick leave, and can expect more regular hours each week.

What you prefer is up to you, but make sure you know you’ve got the right to ask for it. After all, these rules were introduced in the first place to make sure businesses aren’t exploiting workers by keeping them in precarious casual roles when they’re clearly entitled to more. There’s still a way to go to end insecure work altogether, but this is a pretty important step.