What Is The Difference Between Part-Time vs Casual Employment?

difference between Part-Time and Casual Employment

Did you know that over 8 different employment types are available in Australia for small businesses? 

Yes, that’s right. However, sometimes having too many different options can be puzzling—we get that, and you’re not alone, though. 

Many employers can’t differentiate between the various employment types available, especially part-time and casual employment.  This is because both employment types have similarities, such as reduced working hours compared to a full-time employment position. 

But it’s important to note that there are also many differences. They have different pay, compensation, holiday and benefits.

So before hiring an employee, you should figure out what tasks need to be completed for your business. 

Would you like to understand the difference between part-time and casual employees? 

Keep reading.

Table of Contents

What is Part-Time Employment?

Part-Time employment is where the hours are set. However, the hours worked are not on a full-time basis. In other words, a part-time employee works less than 38 hours per week.

To meet the legal definition of part-time, you need to offer a regular pattern of hours of work. For example, work is performed on a reasonably predictable basis.

Like full-time employment, you can also hire a part-time employee permanently or on a fixed-term contract.

A permanent part-time employee works ordinary hours, usually less than 38 hours per week. The hours are defined by the award or employment agreement covering the work. Normal hours usually mean regular and ongoing work.

Subsequently, part-time, fixed-term employees are employed on an ongoing basis until either you or the employee decide to end the relationship.

Part-time employee characteristics

If you plan on hiring a part-time worker, some of the key characteristics to be aware of is that part-time work is:

The main aspects of part-time employment are:

  • A part-time employee generally works less than 38 hours per week regularly
  • A part-time employee can either be a fixed or permanent employee
  • They receive all the entitlements under the NES
  • Termination of part-time employment requires notice

Part-Time Employee Entitlements

Unlike a casual employee, a part-time employee has many more entitlements. The NES are minimum employment standards for part-time employees. They are:

  • Maximum weekly hours – you can’t request your part-time employee to work more than 38 hours per week. However, in reasonable circumstances, you may ask your employee to work some additional hours
  • Flexible working arrangements – If your employee has worked for you for at least 12 months, they can request flexible working arrangements. This includes changes to work hours, work patterns or working from home
  • Parental entitlements – Maternity, paternity, partner, adoption and special maternity leave
  • Annual leave – Entitled to 4 weeks annual leave
  • Personal leave, carer’s leave (sick leave) – 10 days of leave to part-time employees who are ill or must care for an ill family member, not on a pro-rata basis
  • Compassionate leave – 2 days and is taken when your employees family member dies or develops a serious illness or condition
  • Unpaid family and domestic violence leave – 5 days if your employee is experiencing violence
  • Community service leave –Voluntary community activities such as jury duty. If the activity is some activity other than jury duty, the leave is generally unpaid
  • Long service leave –  Amount of leave that an employee gathers from having worked for the same employer for a long period of time
  • Public Holidays – Entitled to receive time off work on public holidays
  • Notice of termination and redundancy pay – Employer and employee need to provide notice of termination
  • Fair Work Information Statement (FWIS) Give every new employee a copy of the FWIS before, or as soon as they start 

You need to include all the entitlements listed above in your employee’s contract. The contract may include additional entitlements, but not less than the NES.

Advantages of Part-Time Employees

  • Cost savings when it comes to salary and benefits
  • Seniors and students may be looking for part-time employment. Hiring these individuals will open your business up to a broader experience
  • A great way for you to try new hours for your business while maintaining employee levels that keep things running smoothly
  • Seasonal support- If your business needs specialised expertise for a short period of time, a part-time employee is a great option

Disadvantages of Part-Time Employees

  • Less interested in your business – Your business will always come second if your employee is also working for a different business
  • If an employee leaves for a full-time opportunity, you have to go through the recruitment process again
  • Part-time employees have more entitlements compared to casual employees
  • Your business will always need to pay salaries, even during quiet periods in your business
  • You will be responsible for your employee’s training and professional development
  • Your part-time employee will not be around as much as your full-time employees. This could result in them not being able to interact with the entire business as comfortably
  • Possibility inconsistent work as they don’t work for the full week.

Do you have a pretty good understanding of part-time employment? Let’s move to casual employees.

What is Casual Employment? 

Let’s now have a look at casual employees.

Under the Fair Work Act, a casual employee accepts a job knowing that there’s no commitment for ongoing work or guaranteed hours of work. 

To clarify, think of a casual employee as someone who works irregular and unpredictable hours.

For example, if you hire a casual employee, you can change their roster weekly to suit your business’s needs. Consequently, this also means that they can also refuse to accept work or swap shifts.

In addition, if you wish to provide your casual employee regular hours, such as every Monday or Wednesday, you have the option to do so.

Casual employees also don’t get paid days off, a notice of termination. However, this is unless it’s written in their employment contract. Further, casual employees don’t get redundancy pay even if they work regularly for a long time. 

Summary

  • A casual employee accepts a casual job with the understanding that there is no possibility for regular work
  • Your employee will work for an unknown period of time
  • An agreed pattern of casual work
  • Work fewer hours than part-time hours with irregular hours
  • Won’t receive paid days off
  • Will not receive a notice of termination unless it’s been stated in their employment contract
  • Casual employees don’t receive redundancy pay

Casual Employee Entitlements 

If you hire a casual worker, they also have many entitlements, just like part-time employees. Most employers don’t realise this when they hire a casual employee.

Under the NES, casual employees are entitled to

  • An opportunity to become a permanent employee
  • 2 days unpaid carer’s leave
  • 2 days unpaid compassionate leave per occasion
  • 5 days unpaid family and domestic violence leave (in 12 months)
  • Unpaid community service leave
  • Casual loading- This is 15 – 25%. The hourly rate is higher than what part-time workers receive. To clarify, this is because casual workers don’t get sick leave or annual leave benefits.
  • Casual Employment Information Statement
  • Casual conversion- A casual employee who’s been with your business for 12 months (or 6 months in some awards) and has worked regular hours can ask to become a full-time or part-time employee. However, you may refuse this request on reasonable grounds. For instance,  business is slow
  • Can also request flexible working arrangements and take unpaid parental leave if
    • They’ve worked regularly for over 12 months
    • The casual worker can expect to continue being employed 

Advantages of Casual Employees

In case you are still unsure whether you should hire a casual employee, here are some benefits:

  • Casual employment is extremely flexible. The number of hours a casual employee works is less than a part-time worker, and hiring a casual worker will allow you to adjust staffing levels according to your business’s needs;
  • Employing casual workers provides administrative convenience since there is less; payroll paperwork and fewer chances of unfair dismissal claims if a worker is irregular
  • They do not need to accrue leave entitlements such as annual leave, personal/carer’s leave;
  • You do not need to provide casual employees with notice of termination or redundancy pay; and
  • It will give you the chance to assess the individual’s suitability for a position in your business before offering a full-time or part-time role.

Disadvantages of Casual Employees 

To help you decide whether or not to hire casual employees, here are a few disadvantages to consider:

  • It will be more costly as you will need to pay the casual loading
  • Casual employees can notify at short notice that they are unable to work
  • They can be unavailable for work more regularly than full-time or part-time employees
  • Casuals can resign without notice unless you have a specific term in their employment contract
  • Long term casuals would be entitled to long service leave at the casual rate of pay

What are the Key Differences between Part-Time and Casual Employees

The differences between part-time and casual employment are:

1. Leave Entitlements

Part-Time EmployeeCasual Employee
Entitled to NES paid leave entitlements such as annual leave, sick leave and carers leave.No Paid leave entitlements for casual employees.

2. Working Hours

Part-Time EmployeeCasual Employee
Entitled to set working hours planned by your business. For example, every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.No guaranteed working hours. The working hours will be irregular and unpredictable.

3. Public Holiday

Part-Time EmployeeCasual Employee
If a part-time employee’s usual working day falls on a public holiday, they must be paid. If they don’t usually work on the public holiday, they are not entitled to public holiday pay.Casual employees do not get any public holiday payments.

4. Pay

Part-Time EmployeeCasual Employee
A part-time employee’s pay is usually based on an annual salary outlined in the modern award or their employment agreement.Pay is generally based on an hourly rate of pay with a casual loading.

5. Superannuation

There are no differences in superannuation between part-time and casual employment.

Part-Time EmployeeCasual Employee
Part-time employees are entitled to 9.5% of their ordinary earnings (does not include overtime payments).A casual employee is entitled to 9.5% of the value of their ordinary time earnings.

6. Notice Period

Part-Time EmployeeCasual Employee
The notice period is set out in a modern award or agreement.  It’s usually 2-3 weeks. A part-time employee is also entitled to written notice or payment if you wish to terminate their employment.There is no notice period. Unless your employee’s agreement or award specifies a different notice period.

Full-time and casual employment contracts differ in many ways, just as part-time and casual employment do. If you want to learn about the differences, check out this post.

Conclusion

By understanding the differences between part-time and casual employment, you can hire the right person for your growing business. 

Choosing the employment type that would work best for your business can sometimes be tricky.

The Fair Work Ombudsman may impose some penalties on you if you fail to understand your obligations as an employer. We’re sure that you, like many other businesses, do not want this.

It’s important that you understand the role you want your employee to play in your business. If you need a hand why not use our part-time agreement or casual employment agreement to hire your next employee the right way.

Get your Casual Employment Agreement now for free.

Hire casual employees in any industry. This Employment Agreement (Casual) is essential when hiring new employees for your business.

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