Manage the changing casual worker conditions the right way

Many businesses and NFPs that employ casuals have begun assessing the implications of recent rulings that those workers may be entitled to annual leave and other entitlements. One pathway for organisations managing the changing casual worker conditions is to outsource their accounting services.

A recent Federal Court ruling, published on 20 May 2020, found that despite the “casual” label in their employment contracts, some employees – those who worked regular and predictable shifts with a firm advanced commitment to work – were not actually casuals, and were therefore “entitled to paid leave, sick and carer’s leave” [WorkPac Pty Ltd v Rossato [2020] FCAFC 84]].

Moving forward, cloud bookkeeping and payroll systems will advantage both employers and workers by accounting for casual entitlements in accordance with the correct rulings.

Australia’s casual workforce

A 2018 parliamentary report found that the casual employee share of total employees in the Australian workforce was 25 per cent.

Casual workers will continue to be a significant part of Australia’s employment patterns. The anticipated disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic may involve an even greater reliance on casual employment, as businesses and NFPs take tentative steps to rebuild.

So, what are the best pathways for managing this large casualised workforce fairly, correctly and economically?

Managing obligations

To understand obligations, record keeping and entitlements you should be familiar with Fair Work Australia conditions, as well as specific industrial awards that apply to certain casual employees.

While larger businesses and NFPs may have dedicated HR and payroll staff to attend to matters such as casual entitlements, an outsourced accounting service provides the added benefit of ensuring that payroll systems are compliant and up to date and that information is easily accessible for the organisation and their employees.

When processing casual staff wages and entitlements, cloud-based technology and outsourced bookkeeping and payroll services have many advantages, not least saving the organisation time and money.

How accounting systems meet organisation and employee needs

An outsourced accountant will be able to set up employee payroll systems properly with the correct details.

At Hopscotch we recommend cloud accounting platforms like Xero to manage payroll and accounting. Once we get these systems up and running for them, we have seen both employers and employees benefit from the time saved, accessibility and freedom from errors.

Beneficial features of automated systems for wages and entitlements include:

  • Employees can have their own portal – to access leave balances, see payslips and apply for leave
  • Superannuation compliance is automated
  • Apps such as Deputy and Tanda can be integrated with Xero to record employees clocking on and off and review timesheets prior to authorisation
  • End of year reports for the organisation and employees can be made available immediately
  • It is easier to analyse data and produce reports.

Organisations have made substantial savings by using the advantage of automated systems. As an example, one client normally dedicated an employee for a whole day to prepare the payroll, but once we converted them to cloud technology and set up the system the payroll preparation took just an hour and a half. By saving six hours on each fortnightly payroll preparation, automated systems saved the organisation 150 plus hours, over the course of a year.

The alterations to casual contracts are among other significant changes that may impact on payroll in your organisation. Hopscotch Accounting can help you with these including JobKeeper being phased in and out, tax-free threshold increases and payroll tax changes in NSW.

Contact us for more details.

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