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Permanent Versus Casual Employees – Knowing Your Obligations

Published June 13, 2017 (last updated June 10, 2022) - NZ Operations Manager
Employer understanding fixed term, casual and permanent employment

Classifying an employee as permanent or casual has significant consequences to the entitlements they are owed and the management of the business. Employers must understand what is provided to each type of employee, to ensure that minimum entitlements are not being overlooked.

Some of the questions to consider include:

  • do you need to provide an individual employment agreement to casual staff?
  • do you need to guarantee hours of work to casuals?
  • are you allowed to ask a casual worker to undertake a trial period?
  • which of your employees are allowed to refuse work?
  • how is holiday pay calculated for casual workers?
  • are casual workers entitled to sick leave and public holiday pay?
  • what are employer health and safety obligations to casual workers?
  • can all employees raise a personal grievance claim, or only permanent employees?

The table below is a quick reference on some entitlements for permanent and casual employees and the difference between the two. We recommend you download the poster to print and keep as a reference. This table is not a complete list, and is meant as a guide only. For tailored advice contact 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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