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Managing Casuals

Published December 11, 2017 (last updated July 15, 2022) -

Businesses employing casual staff do so for a number of reasons, but as is the case with most features of workplace relations there are some key factors about employing casuals which business owners can easily overlook.

Hours of work

By definition, a casual employee is not guaranteed hours of work, and will often work irregular hours. Casual staff can be called and asked to work a shift by an employer, but they are not legally required to say yes and turn up to work.

Sick leave and annual leave

Casual staff will typically receive pay-as-you-go holiday pay, at a rate of 8% of gross earnings. This method of paying annual leave is only appropriate where it would be impracticable to provide the employee with annual holidays. Casual staff have the same entitlement to sick leave as other staff members, provided they meet the minimum working hours test set out in the Holidays Act 2003.

Ending employment

Casual employees can typically end their employment with no notice required. Similarly, an employer is not obligated to provide a true casual employee with ongoing work. However, casual employees are still entitled to raise a personal grievance if they believe they have be unjustifiably dismissed, or subject to disadvantage.

Rate of pay

Casuals are entitled to the same minimum rate of pay as other staff. In cases where the adult minimum wage applies, this will mean the casual employee is paid $15.75.

There are some key differences between casual and permanent employees, and being unaware of this difference is not an excuse for underpayments. For advice or guidance on this, employers should call Employsure on 0800 568 012.

About Employsure

Employsure is one of New Zealand’s largest workplace relations advisers to small and medium businesses, with over 5,500 clients. We take the complexity out of workplace legislation to help small business employers protect their business and their people.

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