The importance of having your employees on the correct contracts and knowing the difference between permanent and casual employees has been highlighted in a recent decision of the Employment Relations Authority. A business was ordered to pay $30,000 for breaching the Holidays Act 2003 for failing to provide three employees with minimum holiday rights, by treating them as casual employees despite them being permanent staff.
As a result of being treated as casual employees the staff did not receive paid sick leave, bereavement leave, annual or public holiday entitlements.
It is possible for an employee to start out as casual but become a part-time permanent employee.
‘Casual employment’ is usually a situation where the employee has no guaranteed hours of work, no regular pattern of work, and no ongoing expectation of employment. The employer does not have to offer work to the employee, and the employee does not have to accept work if it’s offered.
If the employee only works the odd shift here and there, however, for the next few months they begin to regularly work from 9am to 3pm on weekdays. At this point the employment status is changing to being a permanent part-time employee.