When working as a casual, do you know your rights and entitlements? What are your minimum hours? What are you expected to do as a casual? The following information will help casual employed Educators understand their entitlements and tips on working as a casual.
What is a casual employee?
When working as a causal you:
- has no guaranteed hours of work
- usually works irregular hours (but can work regular hours)
- don't get paid sick or annual leave
- can end employment without notice, unless notice is required by a registered agreement, award or employment contract.
How is casual different to full-time or part-time?
Full-time and part-time employees have ongoing employment (or a fixed-term contract) and can expect to work regular hours each week. They are entitled to paid sick leave and annual leave.
Full-time and part-time employees must give or receive notice to end the employment.
According to the Children's Services Award 2010:
(a) A casual employee is an employee engaged as such and must be paid the hourly rate payable to a full-time employee for the relevant classification in clause 14 — Minimum wages plus a casual loading of 25%.
(b) A casual employee is one engaged for temporary and relief purposes.
(c) A casual employee will be paid a minimum of two hours pay for each engagement.
(d) A casual employee may, by mutual agreement, be paid weekly or at the termination of each engagement.
(e) For work in excess of eight hours on any one day or shift or 38 hours in any one week, a casual employee will be paid in accordance with overtime rates.
For information on casual wages and to find out the casual hourly rate: Childcare Wages In Australia
What are casual employees entitlements:
- a higher hourly pay rate than equivalent full-time or part-time employees. This is called a 'casual loading' and is paid because they don't get benefits such as sick or annual leave
- 2 days unpaid carer's leave and 2 days unpaid compassionate leave per occasion
- unpaid community service leave
Long term casual employees
Some casual employees work regular hours or the same days each week for a long period and become 'long-term casuals'.
Long-term casuals stay as casual employees unless they formally change to full-time or part-time employment. They don't automatically become permanent employees, even if they are called 'permanent casual'. They get their casual entitlements regardless of how regularly they work or how long they work for.
After 12 months of regular employment, and if it’s likely the regular employment will continue, a casual employee can:
- request flexible working arrangements
- take parental leave.
As a casual, you don't get paid leave or notice of termination, even if they work regularly for a long time.
Working as a casual Educator:
As a casual employed in a childcare centre you would most likely be assisting in the rooms. It's important you introduce yourself to the Educators within your room as well as the children so they know who you are. Take bottle of water, broad rim hat, timesheet, agency id card (if you have one), lunch and maybe some children's books or prepared games that you can use if needed (not necessary but it may come in handy).
Below are some tips and strategies to keep in mind while attending casual work:
Staff and Families
- Listen to what your room leader and fellow staffs tell you.
- Show initiative.
- Greet parents with a smile.
- Introduce yourself to families.
- During pickups, if the room leader is busy talking to parents briefly about what their child did during the day.
- If a parent has questions or concerns about their child, direct them to the room leader.
- Behave in a mature manner and use appropriate language.
- Be polite and communicate clearly.
- Have a positive attitude, show interest and enthusiasm.
- Respect the centre’s guidelines, follow policies and procedures.
- Listen carefully and follow all instructions.
- Apply your skills and knowledge where appropriate.
- Show initiative.
Dress Code / Personal Hygiene
- Follow the dress code. Typically smart casual wear such as black long pants and a polo t-shirt. It some centres a uniform may be provided. Wear a name badge (if provided) and pay attention to your personal hygiene.
- Wear a broad brim hat while outside at all times.
- Long hair should be tied up and kept out of your face.
- Remove dangling earrings.
- Cover up tattoos if needed (if they are inappropriate for children).
- Be punctual and on time.
- Arrive 15 minutes before your due to start.
- If you are running late, ring the centre and advise them.
- If you are unable to attend it’s best to contact the centre director at the earliest to let them know
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
- If you don’t understand something or don’t know what to do ask the room leader.
- If you have any concerns or problems speak to the room leader or centre director.
Health and Safety
- Wash your hands regularly throughout the day.
- Use gloves when handling food, wiping noses etc.
- Report any accidents/incidents to a staff member immediately.
- Clean up spills etc.
- Become familiar with the centre’s health and safety procedures.
Working as a casual Educator has its own benefits. If it's right for you then go ahead! It will give you the opportunity to work in a variety of different services so you can see how each service works and how each service differs from one another! Being a casual Educator can be very rewarding!
Casual Employees, Fair Work Australia
Children's Services Award 2010