The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has announced two changes to the Horticulture Award 2010 affecting the rights of casual workers.

Right to request casual conversion

A new clause has been inserted into every Award, including the Horticulture Award, allowing regular casual employees the right to request that their employment be converted to full-time or part-time employment.

For this purpose, a ‘regular’ casual employee is one who has in the previous 12 months worked a pattern of hours which, without significant adjustment, they could continue to perform as a full-time or part-time employee.

The new clause inserted into the Award has full detail on how a request must be made, what reasonable grounds exist for refusal of such a request, and other information surrounding this change to the Award.

You can read the full text of this determination on the FWC website.

Minimum payment for engaging a casual employee

A new clause has been inserted into the Horticulture Award stating that casual employees must be engaged and paid for at least two consecutive hours of work on each occasion they are required to attend work.

Aisla Connolly, Workforce Planning Coordinator at NT Farmers, has provided the following example:

If last week Casual Employee A attended work for one hour then rain stopped work for the day, that employee is entitled to two hours’ pay. (Source)

You can read the full text of this determination on the FWC website.

These determinations came into operation on 1 October 2018. In accordance with s.165(3) of the Fair Work Act 2009 these items do not take effect until the start of the first full pay period on or after 1 October 2018.

The FWC has not yet issued a determination on overtime penalty rates for casual employees in horticulture. AUSVEG understands that details on this provision are yet to be determined. For more details in this area, please see our update provided earlier in the year.

This post appeared in the AUSVEG Weekly Update published 16 October 2018. Subscribe to the Update using our online form to receive the latest industry news in your inbox every week!