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Employ casual workers

Know casual workers' rights and how they can help your business.

On this page

  • Understand how casual workers can help your business
  • Casual workers rights and pay rates
  • Planning your business around casual workers

Why employ casual workers?

Casual staff can be a vital 'back up' system to your business so when times are busy, or unexpected staff shortages occur, you can continue to operate your business.

Casual employees are great resources to meet the fluctuating or ad-hoc needs of your business.

Casual worker entitlements

Casual employees generally do not accrue any leave entitlements and are paid a 'loading' to compensate for this.

Employee pay rates and conditions will give you information about the National Employment Standards (NES). They underpin employment in Australia, however, certain elements do not apply to casual employees, such as paid personal and annual leave.

Your casual employees are entitled to:

  • the Fair Work Information Statement being provided at the start of employment
  • two days (unpaid) leave
  • two days (unpaid) compassionate leave
  • community service leave
  • a day off work on Public Holidays  (unless reasonably requested to work). 
Get details about requesting and refusing to work on public holidays.
It is a great idea to plan your public holiday roster well in advance to ensure coverage given the entitlements regarding these days in the NES.  Check Victorian public holidays.

Other legislative coverage for casual staff

Employers should also be aware that other parts of legislation will apply to all staff, including casuals. These include:

  • Occupational Health and Safety legislation
  • Equal Opportunity legislation Fair Work Act – most notably the Unfair Dismissal and General Protections sections
  • Workers compensation legislation
  • Long service leave legislation.
While there are restrictions on which casual employees can access Unfair Dismissal protections, all other elements apply equally to all staff.

This essentially means that employers should apply recruitment, induction and behavioral standards across the board to best manage these aspects.

You can find examples of how Long Service Leave is calculated or look at how to dissmiss staff properly on our site.

Do awards apply to casuals?

Award and Enterprise Agreements will also have additional provisions for casual staff.  Use the Fair Work award finder to check the entitlements of casuals you engage. It is important to remember that entitlements can also come from letters of offer, contracts and/or policies and procedures so employers should ensure there is clarity around these entitlements and conditions.

Planning your roster for public holidays

It is a great idea to plan your public holiday roster well in advance so you can make sure your roster provides employees with their proper entitlements as outlined in the NES.

Check Victorian public holidays to make sure you are covered and that you keep your business running properly.

Casuals on standard ongoing rosters

Implications of using casuals as part of standard, ongoing rosters are that,in a number of circumstances, 'regular and systematic' usage of casuals creates a number of entitlements including access to unfair dismissal; possible rights to ongoing work and other permanent entitlements such as paid leave that you may need to cover as an employer.