As changing work arrangements are becoming more and more common post-pandemic, it’s probably a good idea to get a grasp of what the laws as to these arrangements are, regardless of if you’re a worker or an employer. The rights an employee has available to them as a worker will change depending on whether they are a full-time worker or a part-time worker. Luckily, this blog post is here to show both employers and employees alike of their rights in the working environment.
What is ‘work’
When discussing the differences between work arrangements, it’s important to start at the beginning, at how work is defined by the law. . The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) defines three types of employment, full time, part-time and casual employment.
Full-time work means an employee works 38 hours per week and these hours are set. Part-time employees usually work less than 38 hours but with more flexibility as to their work arrangements. . Casual workers are paid at a generally higher rate under their respective award, and are paid extra when working overtime.
As to causal work, workers in this arrangement do not have the same job security as part-time or full-time workers. The trade-off here is that casual workers are generally paid more than part-time or full-time workers in exchange for the absence of job security.
The way hours work differ between the different arrangements as well. Casual employees can decline any shift if they give adequate notice to their employer while part-time and full-time employee hours cannot be arbitrarily changed like casual employees. If they would like time off, it would come out of their leave as opposed to declining shifts.
Difference between Full-time and Part-time employment
Simply put and the short answer: part-time workers are engaged to work fewer hours than full-time employees.
Additionally, one of the key differences between full time and part time is the hours of work allocated to them. Full time workers work on average 38 hours a week while part time workers are employed for less than this. Both employment arrangements operate in the same way in terms of changing of work schedules, as once the times in which and employee works during the rostered week is agreed upon, the employer cannot change them easily, so there is a sense of regularity for the employee and employer alike. . In exchange for this regularity, they are paid less than casual workers, who are not offered this kind of job security and their hours may shift to irregular times.
The key difference between work arrangements is the number of entitlements that the worker is entitled to under the National Employment Standards (NES). Workers are entitled to a number of these entitlements based on their work arrangements. The arrangements available to employees as defined by the NES include:
- Maximum weekly hours
- Requests for flexible working arrangements
- Parental leave and related entitlements
- Annual leave
- Personal carers leave and compassionate leave
- Community service leave
- Long service leave
- Public holidays
- Notice of termination and redundancy pay
- The Fair Work Information Statement
Full-time workers are entitled to all of the above entitlements whereas part-time workers are entitled to only some of these, such as sick leave. All entitlements should be set out in the employment contract signed by both parties.
Casual workers are not entitled to any of these entitlements (except for the Fair Work Information Statement) on a consistent basis, but instead, get a ‘causal loading’ payment which is paid on top of their hourly rate. For casuals, each shift they work is considered a new employment period which is terminated at the end of the shift. They will usually be offered 25% more per hour than a part time or full time employed person, and will be compensated more generously when working overtime. This is not to say that part time or full time workers will not be compensated, just not to the same degree as a casual worker.
Casual employees are entitled to five days of unpaid family or domestic violence leave as well as two days with unpaid carers leave and compassionate leave per occasion. Additionally, if the casual employee has been working for an extended period, and a ‘regular and systematic basis’, they may be provided with personal leave and annual leave. If rejected,, casual employees may claim they are permanent employees via the Fair Work Act, however, and these claims as per the Fair Work Act can be costly and time consuming.
As a part-time or full-time worker, an employee is entitled when dismissed, to be provided with a written notice of termination which must be provided within a specified period of time depending on how long they have worked, and the notice must clearly specify their last day of work. This is in contrast to casual workers who can be terminated without notice (more specifically, within one hour).
For superannuation, every type of worker is entitled to superannuation regardless of their worker status. Further, an employee’s employment status may become relevant when applying for loans. This is because loan providers will usually require proof of ongoing consistent employment, so when applying for a loan, it is advised that the person provide their employment status in the documentation. .
The determination of how much entitlement an employee is eligible to receive is based on the number of hours they work. If the employee is full time, they will receive the maximum amount they are entitled to, however for a part time worker, they will only be entitled to benefits proportional to how much they work as per their workplace arrangement.
If the work arrangement an employee is currently in doesn’t work for them, they wish to end their employment relationship, or would like to switch from part time or full time to casual, they are able to negotiate with their employer for a change in the arrangement.
Fixed Term v Permanent employees
When working in part time and full time employment, another thing to consider in terms of job security is whether an employee’s contract is for a fixed term or permanent. The difference between the two types of employment is what occurs regarding termination for the employment contract. The fixed term employee will be terminated at the end of the contract term unless the employer creates a new contract to extend the employment of the employee. This is opposed to a permanent or ‘tenured’ employee whose contract will only terminate when the employer or an employee ends the contract for employment. As a result of this difference in long term job security, fixed term employees will be subject to an award which may impose extra conditions on them.
An additional consideration an employer must contemplate the amount of fringe benefits tax they are paying in order to retain their employees, when giving them non-monetary benefits such as extra leave or use of office resources. A full-time employee would generally be entitled to more privileges as a consequence of their role, and thus the employer may consider whether its more costly for them to retain the employee in this position or whether its cheaper for you to have them in a part time or casual role, with less fringe benefits.
Employment law can be confusing and with so many different arrangements out there in many different fields, you, as an employer or employee may need some help navigating the legal arena, which is why Legal Kitz is here to help. Book now for a FREE 30 minute consultation with us if you need assistance in your legal issue.