When There is Nothing Casual in a Casual Position

13 Sep 2018

Kym Gardner

by Ms Kym Gardner

Checking the accounts

A recent decision handed down by the Full Court of the Federal Court has had a ripple effect across workplaces everywhere, including medical practices. Anyone who employs people under the description of being a ‘casual’ employee needs to be aware of this decision.

In the decision handed down on 16 August 2018, the court found that a casual is not necessary a casual when their position did not have an ‘essence of casualness’.  The ‘essence of casualness’ might include aspects like ‘irregularity, uncertainty, unpredictability, intermittency and discontinuity in the pattern of work’.  The opposite leads to the conclusion that someone working regular hours over a long period of time, for example every Monday and Tuesday for a period of 12 months, may subsequently be entitled to paid annual leave. This may even be the case where the employee has been receiving the higher casual rate of pay which is designed to compensate the worker for the lack of paid entitlements, such as annual and personal leave.   

Following this decision, many employees working in medical practices may be found to be permanent employees, so practice owners and managers should be proactive and clarify terms of engagement with their staff.

The Fair Work website provides some useful guidance on potential letters of engagement for staff.

This blog contains general information only. We recommend you contact your medical defence organisation or insurer when you require specific advice in relation to medico-legal matters.



Doctors Let's Talk: Get Yourself A Fricking GP

Get yourself a fricking GP stat! is a conversation with Dr Lam, 2019 RACGP National General Practitioner of the Year, rural GP and GP Anesthetics trainee, that explores the importance of finding your own GP as a Junior Doctor.


25 Oct 2022

Systematic efforts to reduce harms due to prescribed opioids – webinar recording

Efforts are underway across the healthcare system to reduce harms caused by pharmaceutical opioids. This 43-min recording of a live webinar, delivered 11 March 2021, is an opportunity for prescribers to check, and potentially improve, their contribution to these endeavours. Hear from an expert panel about recent opioid reforms by the Therapeutic Goods Administration and changes to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. 

Diplomacy in a hierarchy: tips for approaching a difficult conversation

Have you found yourself wondering how to broach a tough topic of conversation? It can be challenging to effectively navigate a disagreement with a co-worker, especially if they're 'above' you; however, it's vital for positive team dynamics and safe patient care. In this recording of a live webinar you'll have the opportunity to learn from colleagues' experiences around difficult discussions and hear from a diverse panel moderated by Dr Kiely Kim (medico-legal adviser and general practitioner). Recorded live on 2 September 2020.