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Don’t become a Christmas casual statistic

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Will Barsby Written by:
Will Barsby
National Special Counsel - Consumer Dispute Resolution

The festive season can be a great opportunity for everyone to earn some extra cash by taking on a second job as a Christmas casual. With just over two months until Christmas, now is the time we see retailers advertising for casuals to keep up with the holiday season demand.

What it means to be a casual employee

Being a casual employee is different to a full time or permanent employee. Generally, you will be a casual employee if:

  • You don’t receive sick leave or annual leave entitlements
  • You don’t have weekly guaranteed hours
  • You work both irregular and regular hours, and
  • You can be fired or quit without having to give notice.

busy-coffee-shop

Higher wages for casual workers

If you’re a casual employee, you’re entitled to receive a higher rate of pay than someone who is employed permanent or full time. In effect, this is to compensate you for not having similar rights such as sick and annual leave benefits. This is sometimes referred to as ‘casual loading’.

Your rights as a casual

Unfortunately, Christmas is also the time of year we see workers’ rights exploited, particularly when it comes to casual employees. Depending on your award, rate of pay or contract, you may be entitled to:

  • Overtime or penalty rates
  • Meal allowances, and
  • Travel allowances.

Often, we see instances where an employee works a 10-hour day, but only gets paid for seven. This is unlawful. Your employer is required to provide you with a payslip that details the hours you’ve worked, and the amount of money you’re being paid, including the amount of tax deducted.

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Receive the pay you deserve

As a casual, keeping track of the hours you work can be confusing. To ensure you’re paid correctly, it’s a good idea to:

  1. Keep a personal diary detailing the hours you work each day, noting exact start and finishing times
  2. Match your diary with your payslip each week to ensure it adds up

If it looks like you’ve been paid incorrectly, politely raise the issue with your employer. This gives them the opportunity to rectify the situation.

If your employer fails to correct your pay, or suddenly stops giving you hours after you’ve raised the issue, you should seek legal advice immediately.

Shine Lawyers – Resolve your employment dispute

Understanding your rights and entitlements as an employee can be difficult, especially for casual workers. At Shine Lawyers, we have a specialist team of employment lawyers who can assess your situation, and provide individually tailored legal solutions. If you’re experiencing difficulties in your place of work, get in touch and start your claim today.

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Written by Will Barsby on . Last modified: October 13, 2017.

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