The Rights of Casual Members Q&A

September 13, 2019 Know Your Rights News Our Resources

Q. Currently I am working on a casual basis at a supermarket while attending university full-time. During my semester break, I wished to take a week off work to recharge my batteries. However, after submitting my unavailability, I was told my request was denied because the company requires that I must be available for a minimum number of hours each week. If this is the case, does it mean that all casuals are never entitled to a week or more off?

A. Casual employees, by definition, work when hours become available and can be worked by the casual employee. Therefore, casual employees are able to take time off. Of course, it is best to advise the company at the earliest possible time of your unavailability and enjoy your time off.

Q. My friend works part-time and is currently earning less per hour then me. What is the difference between part-time and casual work?

A. Part-time employees are weekly employees and are entitled to guaranteed base hours, 4 weeks annual leave, 17.5% annual leave loading, personal leave which includes paid sick leave and carer’s leave etc. On the other hand, casual employees receive a loaded rate of pay – i.e., they receive a casual loading for every hour worked.

In the future, if you are ever offered part time employment, you should give it serious consideration as the biggest attraction of part-time work is the guaranteed hours you receive each roster cycle.

Q. I am a casual and was recently ill. I did the right thing and rang work as I was physically unable to do my shift. During the phone conversation, I was told that I needed to provide a medical certificate when I worked my next shift. Is this correct?

A. A casual employee’s rate of pay includes their casual loading. This loaded rate covers such entitlements as paid sick leave and annual leave. As a casual, you are not entitled to paid sick leave but you are still entitled to choose not to work if you are sick. Also, casual employees are NOT obliged or required to provide a medical certificate or other form of proof when they are ill or injured.

Q. Last week, a casual staff member was injured at work and I overheard the store manager tell her that she was not entitled to claim workers’ compensation because she is a casual. Is this true?

A.Unfortunately, the manager’s advice was incorrect. All employees, whether they are full-time, part-time or casual are entitled to claim workers’ compensation.

Q. A work colleague told me that our company likes to employ casuals because they don’t have to pay long service leave. That sounds a bit unfair for the long term workers and is this true?

A.You have nothing to worry about. Casual employees are entitled to long service leave after 10 years continuous service. However, you must work at least once every 3 months to maintain continuous service.