All employees including those in the agricultural sector are categorized as either casual or permanent. Although casual employment is not captured in Australian law, it is generally known as working on irregular terms without guarantee of continued work.
On the other hand, permanent employment is described as working for regular hours with the surety of an ongoing working relationship with the employer.
Why is it important to know the difference?
It is important for both employers and employees to know which employees are on a permanent basis and the casuals.
This is because of the terms of employment affects the entitlement and allowances of each employee. Permanent employees enjoy several privileges such as paid leave days, health insurance, and different types of allowances, unlike their casual counterparts.
Below are six differences between a permanent and casual agricultural worker:
- Permanent employees work regularly while casual employees are employed on irregular terms
The main difference between a casual and permanent worker is that casual employees are never certain of whether there will be work for them tomorrow or not.
In other words, the nature of their work is irregular. They are generally employed on a need-basis only. For example, they can be employed for a few weeks or months and told to leave.
On the other hand, permanent employees are employed on a permanent basis. They are guaranteed ongoing work until such a time when they reign or dismissed by the employer for one reason or the other.
- Permanent agricultural workers have systematic working hours and schedule, casuals don’t have a roster nor specific working hours.
Permanent employees clearly stipulated working hours contained in their employment contracts. For example, most working hours start from 8 pm until 5 pm. They also have schedules containing what they are supposed to do within those working hours.
This is unlike casual agricultural workers who work according to the instructions from the management or supervisors. The instructions may change any time depending on the type of work they are supposed to do. Their working hours may also vary based on the needs of the company.
- Job description (JD)
Permanent agricultural workers have a job description (JD) that clearly indicates their roles in the company. In most cases, the roles are stipulated in the employment letter. This means throughout a worker’s career, they are only responsible to undertake roles described in their employment contract.
Contrary to this, casual agricultural workers don’t have a specific job description. They normally work depending on the instructions from the management.
- Entitlements and allowances
Permanent employees have a myriad of privileges compared to casual workers. For example, they have paid leave every year and can also apply for emergency or maternity leave.
Besides, they enjoy a host of allowances from time whenever they attend training sessions or meetings in different places.
Casual workers have very limited privileges or entitlements. They are not entitled to annual leave or any form of an allowance. Any money they get besides their salary is determined by the management or their supervisors. They also cannot apply for maternity or emergency leave.
- Medical insurance
Employees on a permanent basis are entitled to medical insurance. This is a legal requirement that all employers are supposed to adhere to including those in the agricultural sector. Failure to abide by this requirement can cause trouble for the employer.
On the other hand, casual employees are not recognized by the law and therefore do not qualify for medical insurance. They are supposed to arrange for their own medical insurance without expecting any support from the company
- Termination of employment contracts
It is much difficult to fire a permanent agricultural worker compared to a casual worker. An employer can’t wake up one day and decide to sack a permanent employee. The agriculture labour laws require that the company gives a worker at least a warning before sacking them.
But in cases where the employee has been engaged in gross misconduct, the company can issue a summary dismissal.
Casual employees can be sacked at any time by management. They can also be instructed not to report to work any time the company feels that they are no longer needed.
Eric Reyes is a passionate thought leader having been featured in 50 distinguished online and offline platforms. His passion and knowledge in Finance and Business made him a sought after contributor providing valuable insights to his readers. You can find him reading a book and discussing current events in his spare time.