What Are Your Rights As A Worker?
When you finally get that job you’ve been working toward for ages the excitement can be overwhelming. You lose some intuition and tend to sign just anything that comes your way. Here is a reminder of what rights YOU have as a worker. Because you don’t want to be stuck in a situation that you think is normal but is actually not acceptable at ALL.
What is a casual employee?
Since late March, the Fair Work Act 2009 was amended to change workplace rights and obligations for casual employees.
Under the new definition, a person is a casual employee if they accept a job offer from an employer knowing that there is no firm advance commitment to ongoing work with an agreed pattern of work. Over two million Australians are employed on a casual basis.
Casual employees are entitled to a loading on their hourly rate of pay.
This means their pay rate should be more than the permanent workers doing the same work as them. This is to help compensate for the lack of paid leave and the insecurity of their role.
Casual workers covered by the national minimum wage must get at least 25% casual loading.
Casual workers also receive superannuation contributions paid by their employers if they earn more than $450 per month and are aged over 18 years old or are aged under 18 years and work more than 30 hours per week.
Under the Fair Work Act, casual workers are entitled to:
12 months of paid parental leave can also be requested if the employee has been working regular shifts in the same job for 12 months or more and if they have a reasonable expectation of ongoing work.
Long service leave can also be accessed. The length of service which can be taken is set out in the award or agreement between the employee and the employer. It will also depend on State or Territory legislation.
Casual workers have the same unfair dismissal rights as permanent workers. They may also be entitled to compensation if the termination of their employment is considered harsh, unjust or unreasonable.
Casual workers have the right to lodge an unfair dismissal claim if they have worked 6 months in the same job, or 12 months if they work for a small business (a business with fewer than 15 employees).
However, casual employees do not have access to notice of termination, or payment instead of notice.
Part-time and full-time employees
What is a part-time employee?
Part-time employees work, on average, less than 38 hours per week.
Full-time employees work, on average, 38 hours per week.
Both usually work regular hours each week and can be a permanent employee or on a fixed-term contract.
Entitlements for both employees
This includes annual leave and sick and carer’s leave. For part-time employees, their leave is on a pro-rata basis. This means annual leave will be obtained based on how many hours they work weekly.
Both types of employees are entitled to a written notice of termination, or payment instead of notice if their employer terminates their employment.
Changing to part-time or casual employment
If you agree to switch from full-time employment to part-time or casual, the usual rules for ending employment will still apply. Meaning you are entitled to:
Being given or paid the required notice
Being paid out leave or any other entitlements owed
If you do not agree to switch your type of employment, it is important to consider if your contract does not let your employer change your work hours without you agreeing. 
Remember, if you feel like your employer is taking advantage of you, there ARE avenues to help. Chat to Human Resources if available or even just reach out to a friend that could lend that perspective.
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