Casual Workers Now Have The Right To Ask Bosses For Permanent Position

If you're a casual who has worked regular hours for at least the past year, you now have the right to ask your boss for a permanent position.

The new ruling kicked in on Monday following its release by the Fair Work Commission last year.

According to the ruling, an employee who has worked on average a "pattern" of 38 hours or more a week for at least 12 months is now able to ask that their employment be converted to full-time.

"A regular casual employee is a casual employee who has in the preceding period of 12 months worked a pattern of hours on an ongoing basis which, without significant adjustment, the employee could continue to perform as a full-time employee or part-time employee under the provisions of this award," the ruling reads. 

Those who worked less than an average of 38 hours are able to ask to be made a part-time employee.

The ruling gives casual employees, who can have their shifts cut or changed at any time, guaranteed hours of work and pay. Permanent staff members also have access to benefits including paid sick leave and paid annual leave.

Casual staff now have the ability to ask for permanency. Image: Getty

If workers wish to change their employment status, a request must be submitted to their boss in writing.

Employers may refuse the request but only on "reasonable grounds," which include situations in which it is likely the casual employee's position will cease to exist within the next 12 months or the hours associated with that position are likely to significantly decrease.

Bosses can also refuse if the days or times at which the employee is required to work within the next 12 months are likely to change and fall outside of their availability.

It isn't the only recent win for casual staff, with an increase in penalty rates for retails workers on Saturdays and weeknights set to kick in ahead of the Christmas period.

The Saturday penalty rate for retail casuals will be increased from 10 percent to 25 percent after a ruling from the full bench of the Fair Work Commission.

"In our view, the current casual rates for Monday to Friday evening work and Saturday work lack logic and merit," the decision said.

Casuals who start work after 6pm on weekdays will also receive the same 25 percent loading permanent retail employees already receive on such shifts.

More than 350,000 casual retail staff will benefit from the ruling, Australia Council of Trade Unions Secretary Sally McManus said.

"When people give up their weekends and work late nights and early mornings, they should be paid extra," McManus said in a statement.

"At a time of record low wage growth, when working people are struggling to keep up with the cost of living, we need to make sure people are getting fair pay rises, not pay cuts."

While many may be welcoming the decision, retailers have been less than enthralled with the move.

Russel Zimmerman, Executive Director of the Australian Retailers Association, said the decision will mean retailers have to "rethink their Christmas trading strategy."

“Retailers usually thrive during the Christmas period, however this year I’m concerned many retailers will bear the brunt of an unjust and detrimental decision,” Mr Zimmerman said in a statement.

“Casual staff are the lifeblood of the retail industry, and instead of seeing our retailers shine this Christmas, we will see them undertake more pressure and have to make serious decisions about their Christmas trade.”