If you work full-time you generally work about 38 hours per week and receive full weekly wages and conditions for working the hours identified in the award. You should receive all wages and conditions under the award which includes annual leave and long service leave.
Casual employees are engaged to work on an hourly or daily basis. They receive an extra loading on top of the normal rate of pay to compensate for not receiving benefits such as paid sick leave and paid public holidays. This loading is generally between 15% and 33.3% above the normal full-time hourly rate. Casual workers also usually receive an extra amount equal to a further 1/12th of the casual hourly rate to cover pro-rata annual holiday pay.
Some awards specify that casual employees must be paid for a minimum number of hours per day. Other awards may allow employers to engage casual employees to work an indefinite number of hours. The employment of casuals may also be restricted to a specified number of occasions, for example, less than five days duration. Since the definitions of part-time and casual employment vary between one award and another, it is essential to check the award for details.
Disadvantages of casual employment
If you are employed on a casual basis some of the disadvantages of casual employment may include:
- no access to paid sick leave
- no guarantee of hours to be worked
- no requirement to be given a roster or to receive notice of roster changes – therefore making it difficult to plan time for personal reasons
- no guarantee of regular income so it can be difficult to plan a budget and can limit access to loans from financial institutions
- limited unfair dismissal protection (Note: for a casual to have access to an unfair dismissal claim, they must be employed beyond a short period (approximately six months), have worked regular and systematic hours and had a reasonable expectation of ongoing employment.)
- limited access to superannuation. (Note: a casual employee will be entitled to superannuation if they earn $450 or more per month. If they are under 18 years of age they must work 30 hours or more per week to get superannuation.)
- no paid annual leave: while a casual receives a payment in lieu of annual leave, this is often spent at the time it is paid, not saved for a period of leave
- no access to paid public holidays
- no access to personal or carers’ leave
- no notice of termination or access to redundancy entitlement
- no Saturday or late night penalty payments for casual employees under the Shop Employees (State) Award in NSW
- can have limited access to training, career development, access to workplace information and a feeling that their work inputs may be less valued than those of permanent staff.
Pro-rata entitlements: If you are a part-time employee you must receive the following ‘pro-rata’ entitlements:
- Annual Leave: a part-time employee still receives four weeks annual leave per year but it is paid based on their part-time weekly wage.
- Annual leave on stopping work (known as termination of employment): if a part-time employee stops working in a job and has not taken all their annual leave or has not completed a full 12 months employment, they are also due proportionate annual leave when ceasing the job. The formula to calculate pro rata annual leave is:
(Gross ordinary weekly wage X weeks worked) /12 = $ annual leave
- Sick, long service and allowances are all paid as a proportion of the full-time benefits received, based on the number of hours worked.
- Benefits of part-time employment
- Some of the benefits of part-time employment include:
- a guarantee of regular and rostered weekly hours that should not be altered without notice
- access to paid leave (sick, annual etc) within predetermined minimum entitlements
- guarantee of a weekly earning that allows for budgeting and access to finance
- access to minimum notice requirement for termination, redundancy, change of rostered hours.
Difference between an employee and a contractor
The difference between an employee and a contractor is sometimes not very clear. You may be told to get your ABN or register your business by someone you work for but this may not mean you are a contractor and not an employee. You may be an employee and not a contractor if you also:
- do not have control over the job you do and are told what to do and how to do it
- are not using your own tools and equipment
- are not using your own vehicle
- wear the company uniform.
Benefits of being a contractor
- you are your own boss
- you can work when you choose to
- you have control over how the job is done
- there are tax incentives for work expense that can be claimed back via the tax system
- any profit made goes to you and not someone else.
Disadvantages of being a contractor
- no sick leave, annual leave and long service payments
- you must pay your own workers compensation and public liability insurance and superannuation
- you may have to work long hours
- you may have to look for new business or contracts to ensure you have work
- you will have to do all your own paperwork and chase up any due payments
- no job security beyond your contract time.