Everything You Need to Know About Casual Employees

Australia has always been a proponent of satisfactory workplace practices. This was cemented by the Fair Work Act 2009, which is the country’s primary legislation that aims to protect employee rights. This piece of legislation basically sets the standards for optimal working environments for all industries in the country. Despite the efforts of the Australian government, some employees still experience some forms of unfair treatment. 

One group of workers that are particularly vulnerable are the casual employees. This usually stems from the lack of knowledge of their rights and of the laws in place that are meant to protect them. This is why we thought it would be useful to put together a brief breakdown of everything you need to know about casual employees. Hopefully, this article proves to be useful when it comes to informing you about your rights as a casual employee and will lead to better working conditions.

What Are Casual Employees?

A person is considered to be a casual employee if they accept an offer for a job from an employer knowing that there is no commitment to ongoing work that is subscribed to a set pattern. A great example of this is a business that employs a constantly shifting roster of employees. Basically, casual employees are individuals that accept a job with no firm advance commitment.

So how do you know if your offer doesn’t come with a firm advance commitment? Well, there are only four factors that determine whether an employer’s offer includes a firm advance commitment:

  • The employer’s ability to choose to offer the employee hours of work and it’s the employee’s choice to work during these hours or not.
  • If the employment itself is described as “casual”.
  • If the employer pays an employee a casual loading (a higher pay rate for being a casual employee) or any other specific pay rate that they offer to casual employees.

If you want to get into specifics, the Fair Work Act defines casual employees as individuals that:

  • Are offered a job.
  • The offer does not include a firm advance commitment that work will continue.
  • The individual accepts the job knowing full well that there is no firm advance commitment.

What Rights Do Casual Employees Have?

While it may seem like casual employees don’t have rights, this just isn’t the case. Casual employees are afforded a number of rights that make their employment arrangements fairer.

As we’ve already mentioned, casual employees are paid casual loading or any other equivalent special rate afforded to casual employees. This is to balance out the lack of entitlements such as paid holidays and sick leaves. As a casual employee, you are also allowed to take two days of unpaid carer’s leave and two unpaid compassionate leaves. You are also allowed to take community service leave for voluntary emergency service or jury duty. Lastly, you can take a day off on public holidays unless your employer reasonably requests that you report to work.

Another important thing to note is that casual employees can only work 38 hours every week. There are considerations to this, as the law does allow casual employees to work reasonable additional hours.

Now, things get a little complicated when it comes to unfair dismissal because the eligibility criteria for unfair dismissal clearly states that an employee must have been employed for at least six months (and 12 months for small businesses). This can be rather uncommon for casual employees as employers are constantly changing their roster of casual employees. With that being said, there are exceptions to this. If your employment has been regular and systematic with a reasonable expectation of ongoing employment, then you might want to consult with an unfair dismissal lawyer to assess your case.


As you can see, you are still afforded rights as a casual employee. It’s best that you familiarize yourself with these rights so you can best protect yourself from unfair working arrangements. Feel free to look back to this article whenever you are in doubt whether your rights as a casual employee are being trampled upon.

Do You Think You’re Being Treated Unfairly at Work?

Are you looking for a reliable employment lawyer in Perth who can help you achieve your rights as a hardworking individual? Workclaims Australia is a team of registered industrial agents equipped to deal with a range of national workplace relations issues. 

We offer legal advice and represent parties at all stages of the complainant’s process. From obtaining your entitlements, combat bullying in the office, filing a worker’s compensation claim, to protecting your income, we’re fully committed to solving your workplace problems. 

Get in touch with us at (08) 8918 7110 and speak with one of our team today!

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