All employees are not created equally. And by that, we don’t mean factors such as their varied age and qualification. Instead, we’re talking about the different ways in which they can be employed. As in full-time versus part-time versus casual, all of which affect everything from their leave entitlements to pay rates. It’s a structure that incorporates everyone from shift workers up. So here’s a handy guide.
A full-time worker, quite simply, is one who enjoys ongoing employment, working roughly 38 hours a week. The specific number of hours depends on the job or industry involved, and is set either between the employer and employee or through an award or registered agreement.
Workers who are part-time usually work regular hours but they do, on average, less than 38 hours a week. They enjoy the same minimum entitlements as full timers, such as sick leave and holiday, but these are calculated on a pro rata basis. Part timers can be either a permanent employee or on a fixed-term contact and most industries have different work arrangements for part-time staff.
Workers can be hired as permanent employees or on a fixed-term contract. And the differences are pretty simple. Permanents are employed until either they, or the employee, ends the relationship. Fixed-term contract employees are hired for a certain period of time or task, let’s say six months, and their work ends on the date detailed in their contract of employment.
Casual employees have very little job security, but enjoy good flexibility. They have no guaranteed hours – which often results in irregular shifts – and they don’t get paid any sick leave or annual leave. However, they can finish working for an employer without notice, unless bound to give it by a registered agreement, award or employment contract. Money wise, they enjoy a higher hourly pay rate than equivalent full-time or part-time staffer. This is because it incorporates casual loading to make up for the lack of benefits such as sick or annual leave. Casuals also have two days each of unpaid carer’s leave and compassionate leave per occasion, plus unpaid community service leave. In terms of longevity, a 12-month period of regular employment – which looks set to continue – allows the casual to request flexible working arrangements and take parental leave. They can also change to full-time or part-time employment at any time if both they and the employer agree to the change.
A shift worker – drawing on the most basic definition – is an employee who agrees to works shifts and then gets extra pay for working the associated shift hours. Arrangements for this work differ significantly from industry to industry.
In several industries, employers are allowed to use daily or weekly hire employees. These include building and construction, and plumbing, although each have different restrictions, including around the use of apprentices. The proviso of such arrangements is the employer must tell the worker – in writing – the status of their employment, be it daily hire, weekly hire (full-time or part-time) or casual. Daily hire employees Unlike casuals, daily hire employees – who can work part-time or full-time – still access entitlements such as annual and sick leave, plus the following extras…
Weekly hire employees Weekly hire employees can also be part-time or full-time. They enjoy the same entitlements as other employees.
An outworker is a contractor or employee who works from their home or in a place that wouldn’t normally rate as a business premises. Some of the industries in which they’re found include textile, clothing or footwear, which have a specific Textile Award.
On a general scale, outworkers must enjoy at least the minimum entitlements in the National Employment Standards relevant award rate or the national minimum wage. They can also be subject to awards or registered agreements that may have other minimum conditions. But, where it’s the latter, this agreement must be at least as good as conditions in the relevant award. If the award or agreement doesn’t detail outworker terms, they get the same conditions as any other employee.