4 Yearly Review of Modern Awards: Casual and Part Time Case March Hearings

Between 14-24 March 2016, the Fair Work Commission heard the first 9 days of the Casual and Part Time Employment Common Issue Claims as part of the 4 Yearly review of Modern Awards (Proceedings).

The Proceedings deal with a range of claims including those seeking to vary the Children’s Services Award 2010 (Children’s Services Award) in respect of Casual and Part time employment. ACA has instructed Australian Business Lawyers and Advisors in the proceedings to oppose the claims of the ACTU who are seeking variations to the Award to introduce:

  • An entitlement for casual employees to convert to permanent employment after six months of regular employment;
  • A minimum engagement period of 4 hours for part-time and casual employees;
  • A prohibition on an employer hiring any new casual or part-time employees prior to offering additional hours of work to existing part-time and casual employees.

(ACTU Common Claims)

Filing evidence

On 22 February 2016, Australian Business Lawyers and Advisors on behalf of ACA filed submissions and a witness statement from an ACA Representative opposing the ACTU Common Claims.

The hearing

Between14-24 March 2016, the first fortnight of hearing produced evidence from some 90 witnesses both for and against the ACTU Common Claims in the form of employees, Union officials and representatives of business. These witnesses addressed a range of issues and included four witnesses providing evidence in respect of the Children’s Services Award. These four witnesses included two childcare workers, a representative of the National Out of School Hours Services Association and the ACA representative.

During the course of the proceedings, Australian Business Lawyers and Advisors cross-examined many of the ACTU’s witnesses, including childcare workers, in respect of the ACTU Common Claims. The cross-examination of ACTU witnesses was most successful with most, if not all, union witnesses acknowledging that their part-time or casual employment was a result either of personal choice or a necessary requirement of their personal circumstances.

The final two days of hearing saw evidence adduced and tested from two key experts, Professor Raymond Markey for the ACTU and Professor Glenn Withers for the Employers.

What’s next?

The hearing has not finished and will continue for a further week commencing 11 July 2016 before concluding with a further week commencing 15 August 2016.

ACA should be in receipt of final submissions of the ACTU in support of their claims by 22 July 2016 and will be required to file submissions in response by 5 August 2016.

Prior to the further hearing of the matter, the Full Bench indicated that it will produce an “Issues Paper” alerting the parties to the issues that the Full Bench regard as particularly relevant to the Proceedings.

We will keep you informed and updated as required as the Proceedings continue.