The new 2020 Local Government State Award as negotiated by your union has resulted in new rights for casual employees being added into the Award see below.
Clause 27. Casual Employment
(i) A casual employee shall mean an employee engaged on a day to day basis.
(ii) (a) A casual employee shall not:
(1) replace an employee of the employer on a permanent basis; or
(2) be engaged by the employer on a permanent basis.
(b) An employee engaged under this clause for a period in excess of 12 months may request that the employer review the nature of their engagement.
(1) A review under this subclause (ii) (b) shall examine whether or not the position is more appropriately filled by a permanent employee.
In undertaking this review the employer shall have regard to the following matters:
• the genuine operational reasons that align with the nature of the role;
• the service requirements of the position;
• the seasonal nature of the role;
• if the position is contingent upon external funding; and
• any other relevant matter.
(2) As a result of a review conducted under subclause (ii) (b) an employee may be invited to apply for a permanent position with the employer.
These important changes to this clause will reinforce the Union’s position that full time and part time jobs should never be replaced by casual and or Labour Hire employees on a permanent basis or be engaged on a permanent basis.
Casual employees now have the right, after 12 months of casual employment, to request to have their position reviewed by their employer to determine if it should be filled on a permanent basis. If the position is found to be permanent or permanent part time, the employer may invite the employee to apply for a permanent position. It must be understood that the award cannot override legislation and that the NSW Local Government Act has requirements that must be met when filling permanent positions such as section 348 Advertising of Positions and section 349 Employees to be appointed on merit. Should a genuine casual employee who is a union member miss out on being interviewed or being appointed to a job that they have been successfully performing, we would advise them to first contact the Union and to then request the reason/s why in writing and the employer’s response or failure to respond may allow the matter to be challenged and disputed by the Union. The misuse of casual labour undermines job security and these changes seek to address this long term and growing problem of insecure employment.
Not only does it stop the misuse of casual roles in council, but also provides the opportunity for casual workers to be able to compete for employment of a permanent position in an ongoing basis.
Peak level discussions
It should be noted that the USU (your Union) has been holding discussions at a peak level regarding the misuse of insecure employment such as Casuals, Labour Hire and Term Contract with the Office of Local Government and with the current Minister for Local Government the Hon Shelly Hancock. Minister Hancock has been very supportive of our efforts to highlight and to address this issue.
We have also been reviewing sections of the Local Government Act and their application such as Sections 348 and 349 which cover advertising of positions and merit based selection. While we believe these sections are important they, at this time, are unfortunately a barrier to including a casual conversion clause into our State Award. In the Federal Award casual conversion clauses are now included in over 80 Federal Modern Awards including the Federal Local Government Award.
Our State Award is superior to the Federal Award in almost every clause other than Casual Conversion. Only an appropriate amendment to sections 348 and 349 of the NSW Local Government Act would allow us to have a clause which mirrors the Federal Casual Conversion Clause, however in the meantime our new Award Clause should greatly assist many long term (over 12 months) casual employees having the opportunity to be permanently employed.
Join the USU today!
If you are a casual employee and are not yet in the Union you should join up asap to get the assistance and advice which could lead to more secure employment.
If you seek further information or want to join the USU please contact your organiser or members services on 1300 136 604.