Know Your Rights: Part-time and Casual Employment Rights

In today’s modern workforce, many individuals work part-time or casual jobs. While these employment arrangements offer flexibility and convenience, it is essential to understand the rights and entitlements that come with them. 

What is a part-time worker?

A part-time worker is an employee who works between 8-38 hours per week. The exact number of hours varies depending on the employer and industry. Part-time workers have the same legal rights as full-time workers. They have entitlements to annual leave, sick leave, and superannuation benefits.

Employees on a part-time basis can work fewer hours than full-time workers. The employer will determine the exact number of hours; the employment contract should outline this. Part-time employees have entitlements to a pro-rata salary based on the number of hours worked. 

Part-time employees have protection from unfair dismissal and have entitlements to notice periods and redundancy pay. In addition, the Fair Work Act 2009 offers the right to a safe working environment, freedom from discrimination and harassment, and protection against adverse action.

What is a casual worker?

A casual worker is employed on a casual basis and is not entitled to ongoing employment. 

Casual workers do not have a guaranteed number of hours. They are typically engaged to work irregular hours, which often include weekends and public holidays. The employer will determine the number of hours worked, which can vary weekly.

Those working on a casual basis have entitlements to a higher rate of pay than full-time or part-time employees to compensate for the lack of guaranteed hours. This is known as casual loading, which is usually 25-50% of the full-time or part-time rate.

Casual employees do not have entitlements to annual leave or sick leave. They also have entitlements to superannuation if earning more than $450 per month. In addition, casual employees should receive public holiday rates if they work on a public holiday.

They are not entitled to notice periods or redundancy pay. However, they have protection from unfair dismissal if they have been under employment for more than 12 months and have worked a regular pattern of hours during that time. 

Legal rights

Casual workers are also protected under the Fair Work Act 2009 and are entitled to the same legal rights as full-time and part-time employees. 

In Australia, every employee has a legal entitlement to secure and equitable employment, as guaranteed by the work health and safety (WHS), workers’ compensation, and equal opportunity legislation.

Employers are under obligation to provide appropriate training and information to ensure your safety from any physical or mental harm at work. This is defined by the model WHS Act, which covers both physical and psychological health. Thus, your employer is responsible for managing risks related to workplace bullying and your physical work environment.

The WorkCover schemes, also known as WorkSafe or ReturnToWork in some states, provide an avenue for employees to claim compensation if they suffer an injury while on the job.

Furthermore, it is mandatory for employers to treat all their workers justly and with respect, as they have a legal duty to do so.

Having a clear understanding of your rights as an employee can provide you with additional assurance while on the job. Your perks and privileges will vary based on the nature of your employment. It’s advisable to contemplate the terms that are most significant to you before agreeing to your next job offer.