employment

Casual and part time employment changes in Australia will affect backpackers and students

by Ray Clancy on December 28, 2017

in Jobs in Australia

A number of changes regarding pay and entitlements for working overtime and holidays are being introduced in Australia from 01 January which will benefit backpackers, students and overseas workers.

Many of the changes relate to the hospitality industry which employs a lot of foreign workers who may not be aware of the changes and both the Fairwork Ombudsman and the Australian Border Force will take action against those who exploit workers.

Kitchen Workers

(Christian Vinces/Shutterstock.com)

Under the changes casual employees in the fast food industry will have an entitlement to overtime pay when working more than 38 hours per week, or an average of 38 hours per week over a roster cycle or more than 11 hours on any day.

In the hair and beauty industry the same change is being introduced but comes in for a 10.5 hour day. While in the hospitality sector part time employees engaged for a minimum of eight hours but less than 38 ordinary hours per week over a roster cycle must have an agreed minimum number of hours to be worked each week.

Part time employees can be rostered for additional hours during their availability period without getting payment for overtime but a part time employee who regularly works additional hours for 12 months may ask to increase their guaranteed hours. Employers may only refuse on reasonable business grounds.

Casual employees will be entitled to overtime pay when working more than 38 hours per week, or an average of 38 hours per week over a roster cycle, which may not exceed four weeks, or more than 12 hours per day. Casuals may also be entitled to a meal allowance when working overtime.

In the restaurant industry part time employees engaged for a minimum of eight hours and less than 38 ordinary hours per week over a roster cycle can be rostered for additional hours during their availability period without getting payment for overtime.

A part time employee who regularly works additional hours for 12 months may ask to increase their guaranteed hours. Employers may only refuse on reasonable business grounds while casual workers will have an entitlement to overtime pay and may be entitled to a meal allowance while working overtime.

In the retail sector casual employees will qualify for overtime pay when working more than 38 hours per week, or an average of 38 hours per week over a roster cycle, outside of the span of ordinary hours, more than 11 hours on one day of the week and more than nine hours on any other day of the week.

The minimum payment for casual employees doing pruning or harvesting work in the wine industry during unexpected wet weather will be reduced from four hours to two hours.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said that it is important for any visa holders who take up employment in Australia to establish from the outset who their official employer is and that they will be paid lawful minimum rates and issued with pay slips.

‘It is crucial for backpackers working on 417 visas to establish these basics from the outset because it can help them avoid entering into situations where they can be exploited and it can help them avoid difficulties applying for a second year on their visas,’ she explained.

‘Any worker who finds themselves in a situation where they are concerned they are being exploited or treated unfairly should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for free advice and assistance as soon as possible,’ she added.

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