With Christmas just over two months away many businesses are now looking to recruit their seasonal workforce. The most flexible and reactive way to achieve this is to employ casual staff. Casuals are employed ad-hoc and as needed, making them ideal for seasonal roles in retail, hospitality, on farms and in primary production.
Five reasons to employ casual staff:
1. One word; FLEXIBILITY! Casual staff are there for when your business needs the extra help, allowing you to adapt your team quickly to changes in demand.
It is important to note that this flexibility not only benefits employers but also allows many employees to balance the other facets of their lives also, undertaking meaningful employment around family commitments, study or even another part-time or casual role.
2. Access to new skills and fresh perspectives. Hiring casual staff can offer businesses the ability to pivot to emerging needs, taking on staff with specific skills for individual projects or at times of differing needs.
3. ‘Try before you buy.’ Hiring casual staff is a great way to ‘test’ staff in your business, and who knows? You may find an employee you want to bring on full-time or invite back the next time you need extra staff.
4. Keeping the business happy. Having an appropriate level of staff available to perform tasks can boost morale across the entire workplace which often leads to better business outcomes.
5. Casual employees often place a lower administrative burden on an employer, requiring less payroll administration than full-time employees.
The benefits, entitlements and conditions of employees differ depending on whether you utilise casual workers, part-time or full-time employees to fulfil this need. If your organisation is looking to boost staff numbers with short-term roles for this busy period, here are some of the key things to keep in mind:
Rates of pay:
Casual employees are paid at a rate at least 25% higher than full-time or part-time employees, this is referred to as ‘casual loading’ and is provided to offset the fact paid sick and annual leave are not provided.
While many full-time and part-time employees are contractually bound to work ‘reasonable overtime’ for no additional pay, casual employees are compensated for the hours they work including penalty rates for certain times of the day, week and holiday periods.
All wages paid in Australia are subject to awards for the type of work being undertaken, details of awards can be found here.
Piece rate employees are a special type of casual employees who are paid a rate for the amount picked, packed, pruned or made instead of an hourly or weekly rate. Piece rate payments may only be offered if the award allows for this type of payment for work undertaken, or the role is not described by an Australian award. Employees must still be able to earn the national minimum wage of $19.84 per hour.
Australian businesses may be eligible for wage subsidies of up to $10,000 to hire new employees. Your My Pathway recruiter can assist you to obtain this assistance.
All employees, regardless of their employment status, have an entitlement to superannuation payable by their employer. Under the superannuation guarantee, employers pay superannuation contributions of at least 9.5% of an employee’s earnings. Find more information about tax and superannuation here.
Casual employees do not receive paid sick or annual leave but are entitled to take leave without pay including consecutive days of both carers and compassionate leave. Unpaid family and domestic violence leave (up to 5 days per annum) must also be provided if required. Remain aware that casual employees are not required to commit to all shifts offered by an employer and may decline a rostered shift.
Hiring casual employees:
Casual work appeals to many employees as it allows for a better work-life balance. Most employees will seek information regarding the amount of work they will receive and the rate at which they are to be paid. You should ensure you have considered the amount of work available, any factors that may increase or reduce this demand and have researched the relevant award pay scale for the role. Read our cheat sheet for writing an effective and attractive casual job advert here.
Ensure you have new casual employees sign well-drafted casual employment contracts when onboarding, and that they clearly state that the casual is to be paid casual loading and has no access to paid annual leave, paid personal leave, or redundancy entitlements.
We hope this article has provided useful information to help you prepare your business for a prosperous and productive period ahead. If you are looking to fulfil your seasonal roles with workers diverse in skills, experience, and abilities then your My Pathway recruiter can help. Contact us today.
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