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Casual Employment

This Fact Sheet discusses casual employment, an increasingly widespread form of employment in Australia, with a summary of the entitlements of casual workers and sets out how they vary from those of permanent workers.

Casual work is a term that is used to describe a range of employment situations where the work is not permanent (i.e. not ongoing). The essence of casual work is that there is no entitlement to ongoing employment or certainty in the days, hours or shifts that you will work. Casual workers are entitled to a higher minimum rate of pay and they have different entitlements from those of permanent employees.

Whether you are a casual employee will depend on what was agreed between you and your employer when you were initially offered the job. Under the Fair Work Act 2009, a person is a casual employee if:

  • An offer of employment was made to a person on the basis that the employer makes ‘no firm advance commitment to continuing and indefinite work according to an agreed pattern of work’; and
  • the person accepts the offer on that basis; and
  • the person becomes an employee as a result of that acceptance

Casual work suits some employees because it offers a greater level of flexibility about working hours than other forms of employment. However, this flexibility can also be a disadvantage because it means that you have no certainty about your working hours and no guarantees about ongoing work.

If you are a casual employee, your shifts can be cancelled or you can be sent home early if you are not needed by your employer. While in theory you may decline work, it can be difficult to refuse hours if you are relying on your employer to offer you work in the future.

For more information about casual employment, your entitlements including to casual conversion, and your rights, download the Fact Sheet.

For further support

Call our Telephone Information Service on Melbourne Metro (03) 9662 1933 or Regional Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania on 1800 331 617.

Casual Employment

For those short on time, here’s a quick 60 second video explaining some of your rights as a casual worker.

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