On Thursday 15 April 2021 the Fair Work Commission (FWC) will convene a conference to commence the process of reviewing of casual terms in modern awards in light of the recent changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) (Casual Terms Review).
The Casual Terms Review will be undertaken in a two-stage approach. The first stage will involve a five-member full bench of the FWC reviewing the casual terms in six modern awards covering industries including retail, hospitality, manufacturing, teaching, pastoral, and firefighting. The purposes of the Casual Terms Review is to update relevant award terms to reflect the new provisions of the FW Act dealing with casual employment, including new provisions relating to the definition of casual employees and the processes for converting casual employment to permanent employment.
The second stage of the Casual Terms Review will involve overseeing changes in the remaining modern awards, to be reviewed by a three-member subset of the established full bench.
Following the completion of the two-stage process, a discussion paper will be issued, which will provide initial commentary on the Casual Terms Review, identify any issues with the interaction between the new FW Act provisions and award terms, address issues to be considered by interested parties, and provide directions for lodging submissions.
Justice Iain Ross, President of the FWC, has stated that, in accordance with clause 48 of the FW Act, the FWC must conduct the Casual Terms Review for the purpose of reviewing and varying “modern awards on the basis of their interaction with the new casual employee definition and casual conversion arrangements in the Act”. Where the Casual Terms Review finds an “inconsistency, difficulty or uncertainty, the Commission must vary the modern award as soon as possible”. The Casual Terms Review is required to be conducted within six months of the commencement of the new FW Act provisions (that is, on or before 27 September 2021).
If you have any questions about the new provisions relating to casual employees in the FW Act or how the Casual Terms Review might impact your business, please do not hesitate to contact Nick Stevens, Luke Maroney or Daphne Klianis.