May 2019 Work Health and Safety Update

May 29, 2019

Single Touch Payments (“STP”), letters of employment, and casual employment

By Chas Cini

With the end of the financial year fast approaching, now is the time for compliance housekeeping, while there are industrial relations changes that growers ought to be aware of.


Single Touch Payments are required by July 1

Small Employers

Small employers (those who employ 19 and less employees) must comply with the Tax Office Single Touch Payment (STP) by 1st July 2019.  All employees must be reported through the STP from 1 July 2019. Growers should speak with an accountant, bookkeeper, payroll processor or, the provider of their payroll package.

Large Employers (20 or more employees)

Large employers (20 or more employees) were required to be compliant by 1 July 2018.


Letters of Employment

Clause 10 of the Pastoral Award 2010 requires employers to inform new employees of the terms of their engagement, and in particular, whether they are employed as full time, part time, or casual.

Growers employing casual employees should provide a written statement that the employee’s total hourly rate includes a 25% casual loading in lieu of leave and other benefits that are associated with full or part time employment.


Casual Employment

Casual v Full-time or Part-time Employment?

The 25% casual loading exceeds the cost of paid leave for full time or part time employees. In addition, unfair dismissal rights to not apply to employees of small businesses (defined as less than 15 employees). A small business employer may terminate an employee’s employment (except where that dismissal is for unlawful reasons such as discrimination) within the first 12 months of employment.

Growers should familiarise themselves with the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code


Casual Employees Right to Request Conversion to Full-time or Part-time Employment

Late last year the Award was varied to allow a regular casual employee (a casual employee who has been employed for the period of 12 months and who has worked a pattern of hours on an ongoing basis) to apply to convert from casual to full-time or part-time employment.  Whilst it is generally cheaper to engage an employee on a full-time basis, there are some pitfalls if you engage the person on a part-time basis.

A part-time employee and the employer must agree in writing on a regular pattern of work, which days of the week the employee worked, and the actual starting and finishing times each day.  This removes the flexibility that exists with casual employment because if the part-time employee works outside of the agreed days and times they become eligible for overtime. 

A part-time employee may therefore qualify for overtime if they work less than 38 hours per week.  However, an employer and employee may agree in writing to the employee taking time off in lieu of being paid for all overtime that is worked by the employee under this agreement.  This allows some flexibility but a written agreement with the employee must be reached before withholding payment for overtime, and allowing the employee to take an equivalent amount of time off.  Time off in lieu of payment must be taken within 6 months of it being worked.

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