Casual or part-timers?
It is important to know the difference between casual employees, fixed term employees and permanent employees. There can be significant financial implications if someone is employed in a casual arrangement and then found to be fixed term or permanent. If this is the case, you could be liable to provide paid leave from the start of their employment and the 8% that has been previously paid will may not be taken into account.
We have added a flow chart to HealthyPractice that will help you decide if the casual employee is truly a casual. Casuals and part-timers (healthypractice.co.nz)
The term “casual employee” refers to those people that come into your business from time to time as and when you require some additional assistance. A casual employee only works occasionally, they are only employed by you on the days they work and can turn down the offer of work if they wish. Each period of work is a separate engagement and at the end of that period they are no longer your employee.
A good example might be a person you call on when one of your permanent employees is sick or on leave. If they are available and want to work, you employ them for that period and then the employment relationship ends until you call them again.
Because each day they work is a separate engagement, holiday pay needs to be paid, with their pay, for the days they work, and holidays do not accrue as it does for other employees.
Where you have a need for a casual employee it is important to set out the nature of the relationship. Having a casual employment agreement that is signed by your casual employees at the outset is the simplest and best way to manage these situations. When you require the casual employee to work you will contact them and offer them the hours/days you have available. Some things to consider:
- A casual employee should not have ‘rostered’ hours.
- If you are offering a block of work, be clear about the days of work required especially if there are statutory days within the period of work e.g. if you are looking for cover over the Xmas/New Year holiday period and you are not open for the statutory holidays you would offer two blocks of work that exclude the statutory holidays.
- If the period of work is 4 weeks or more then, a fixed term agreement may be more appropriate see Fixed term content at this link When can fixed term agreements be used? (healthypractice.co.nz)
You should review the pattern of work for casual employees every 3-6 months, to ensure that their role hasn’t morphed into a permanent role.
‘Part time’ employees
If you have someone coming in regularly to undertake a particular task or range of tasks for less time than you class as a full-time employee (even where the day or days they work vary), the relationship is an ongoing one then that employee is not a casual employee, they are a part-time employee, e.g:
- the receptionist/practice nurse who works Saturdays;
- the employee who comes in 5 hours a week to do the filing.
The part-time employee would have either an individual employment agreement or be covered by the collective agreement. Part time employees enjoy the benefits of a full-time permanent employee relationship.
Case law shows that it is important to revisit the arrangements that you have with your employees to ensure it reflects the current situation. The Employment NZ website provides an explanation of casual employment.
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