A path to permanency for casual academics (shame about the pay)

The Fair Work Act is amended to provide casual employees a path to a permanent position

There are three requirements, 12 months with an employer, “a regular pattern of hours” for six of the months, which would not be significantly changed by becoming a permanent staffer.

Which looks like it is not much use for academic casuals only-employed one semester at a time. Except for 66B (1) (b) of the amended act, which states “during at least the last six months of that period, the employee has worked a regular pattern of hours on an ongoing basis.”

The Fair Work Ombudsman’s information sheet also states a casual can apply for conversion to permanent status if, “you have worked a regular pattern of hours in the last six months on an on-going basis (and) your regular hours could continue as a permanent employee.”

“The key thing” a learned reader suggests, “is that whatever a person is doing, it is likely to continue in future without too much change. You don’t have to be doing things every week.”

Not that permanency may mean improved pay – with casuals being employed for the same hours and presumably at the same rates. Which may be why the National Tertiary Education Union leadership could be keen on improving hourly rates and hours for specific tasks in the enterprise bargaining round starting this year.

And why university managements, notably ANU and Monash U (CMM yesterday) may want to get deals done independent of the bargaining process.