Can I force my employer to transfer me to a part-time contract?

Question Details: My employer has placed me on a casual contract despite the fact that I work regular hours for her business and have done for almost a year now. I want the ability to have sick leave so am now seeking to transfer to a part-time contract. Is there any way for me to force my employer to do this or is it at their discretion?

Filed under Employment Law | 2329 View(s)

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Community Law Wellington & Hutt Valley

Casual employees do not have the same rights and obligations as permanent employees so it is necessary to work out whether you are actually a casual employee. You might be a part-time, permanent employee who is just signed up to the wrong contract.

Casual employment means that the employee is employed when and if needed, and it means there is no particular expectation of continuing employment. A judge in a recent New Zealand court case said “the essence of casual work lies in a series of engagements which are complete in themselves, whilst ongoing employment contemplated a continuing pattern of regular and continuing work.”

On what you have said (you work regular hours for your employer's business and have done so for almost a year) you do not fit within the definition of a casual employee, the work you do is regular and continuing, and we assume that you have an expectation of continued employment. So you should raise this with your employer and say that you wish to move to a part-time employment agreement because as you work for her regularly, you are no longer a casual employee. Once you are a part time employee you will become entitled to sick leave and other entitlements.

Answered 29 May 2012. The IMPORTANT NOTICE below is part of this answer.

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