Casual classification and the engagement of casual staff is a regular enquiry received by the LASA ER team. In 2018, the classification of casual staff was thrust into the spotlight with the 2018 Workpac decision. This Decision saw a casual worker be awarded backpay for leave entitlements as it was found that he was rostered in a manner that was consistent with a permanent employee.

At the time of the Workpac decision, LASA took the opportunity to remind members of their obligations when engaging employees on a casual basis.

The matter of engaging casuals in the correct manner is again in the spotlight with the CFMEU class action lawsuit in the Federal Court, claiming that approximately six hundred CFMEU members have been incorrectly classified as casual.

The CFMEU claims that these members have worked regular and systematic shifts for a period of time and accordingly should be awarded the entitlements owed to a permanent employee.
If successful, the employees may be awarded up to $12 million in unpaid entitlements.

In the wake of this class action, LASA again takes the opportunity to remind members of the importance to roster casual staff in an appropriate manner. The key elements of a casual engagement include:

  • irregular work patterns
  • uncertainty
  • discontinuity
  • intermittency of work and unpredictability.

Members should be aware that where casual employees do not fit these key elements, their employer risks the employee being found to be a permanent employee who are entitled to permanent employee benefits and should be paid (or back paid) as such.

LASA recommends that Members are diligent when classifying staff as casual, and that rostering arrangements of casual staff is reviewed. Where appropriate, members may also consider transitioning casual staff to permanent. Contacting LASA’s Employment Relations team on 1300 111 636 with any questions regarding the engagement of casual staff.