Casual employment or contract employment is an employment classification under employment law.


In Australian workplace law, there has been a statutory definition of casual employment since 2021 (which is retrospective). Under the Fair Work Act 2009, a person is a casual employee if:

The only four factors that can be considered in whether an employer's offer does not include a "firm advance commitment" are:

Under the National Employment Standards, certain casual employees (who have worked for at least 12 months and worked a regular pattern of hours for the last six months) have a right to be offered or request their employer to convert to permanent employment. There are some exceptions, for example for small businesses.[3][4]

Approximately 28% of all Australian workers were employed on a casual basis in 2003.[5] Employers often contact casual employees regularly from week to week to supplement their normal workforce as needed.[6]

New Zealand

In New Zealand, casual employees are guaranteed either annual leave pro-rata, or 8% holiday pay on top of earnings. Casual employment contracts lack sick leave and guaranteed work hours.

In Jinkinson v Oceana Gold (NZ) Ltd, the Employment Court of New Zealand ruled that:

The distinction between casual employment and ongoing employment lies in the extent to which the parties have mutual employment related obligations between periods of work. If those obligations only exist during periods of work, the employment will be regarded as casual. If there are mutual obligations which continue between periods of work, there will be an ongoing employment relationship"[7]

Under Lee v Minor Developments Ltd t/a Before Six Childcare Centre (2008), the Employment Court outlined the following characteristics as those the courts use to assess whether employment is casual:[8]

In 2008, the Fourth Labour Government proposed the strengthening of casual employment rights.[9] However, they were voted out of office later during the year.

United Kingdom

The UK Government defines casual employment as the following:[10]

See also


  1. ^ Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) s 15A.
  2. ^ "Casual employees". Fair Work Ombudsman. Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 2 June 2023.
  3. ^ Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) s 66A to s 66M.
  4. ^ "Casual employees". Law Handbook (South Australia). Legal Services Commission of South Australia. Retrieved 2 June 2023.
  5. ^ Parliamentary Library, Department of Parliamentary services
  6. ^ DOCEP, Government of Western Australia
  7. ^ Jinkinson v Oceana Gold (NZ) Ltd [2009] CC 9/09 CRC 4/08.
  8. ^ Am I a casual employee?
  9. ^ Stronger Protections for Casual and Temp Workers. Beehive.
  10. ^ Employee status. UK Government.