Who is an Employee?

An employee is anyone who has agreed to be employed, under a contract of service, to work for some form of payment.
This can include wages, salary, commission piece rates or other benefits.
Employees can’t be asked to agree to less than the minimum rights. 
An employer must provide a written employment agreement to each employee by law.

Employment Types (Different types of employee)

Permanent employees

Permanent employees can work either full-time or part-time and are classified as having a guaranteed number of work hours per week.
Permanent employees have the full set of employment rights and responsibilities. 
Permanent employees do not have a predetermined end date of employment.
Instead, it carries on until the employee or employer terminate the employment relationship.

Casual employees

A casual employee has no guaranteed hours of work, or regular pattern of work, and has no ongoing expectation of employment. 
The employer doesn’t have to offer work to the employee, and the employee likewise has no obligation to accept work that is offered.
The casual employees work normally on an ‘as and when required’ basis and the employee works as and when it suits both them and the employer. This can sometimes happen because it’s hard for the employer to predict when the work needs to be done, or when the work needs to be done quickly. Each time the employee accepts an offer of work it is treated as a new period of employment.
Employment rights and responsibilities also apply to casual employees, but the way in which annual holidays, sick and bereavement leave are applied can vary for these employees.
The casual employment relationship must be made clear in the written employment agreement.
It’s recommended that a casual employment agreement outlines the details of an employee’s work hours.
This should make clear:

  • that each time the employee accepts an offer of work it’s considered a new period of employment. The terms of the agreement are to apply to each new period
  • that there is no guarantee of work on a specific day
  • that the amount of work will fluctuate
  • how the employer will let the employee know when there is work available
  • that the employee doesn’t have to make themselves available for work or accept work that’s been offered to them.
Fixed-term employees

Fixed-term, also known as a “temporary” or “seasonal” employment.
Fixed-term employees can work either full-time or part-time and are hired to do work that only exists for a set time frame, the employee’s employment will end on a specified date or when a particular event has occurred.
eg. to work on a short-term project, cover for another employee on parental/medical leave or work during a seasonal peak. This includes people working in triangular employment situations.
There must be a genuine reason based on reasonable grounds for hiring a fixed term employee, and the reason must be specified in the employment agreement.
A fixed-term employment agreement must include:

when or how the employment relationship will end
the genuine reason for the fixed term.
If the fixed-term reasons and details are not included in the written employment agreement, the employee may be considered by law to be a permanent employee.
Employers can’t use a fixed-term agreement to test whether or not an employee is right for the job. This wouldn’t be a genuine reason for a fixed term.

Triangular Employment
A triangular employment relationship involves three parties. It is ‘triangular’ because there are three parties to the arrangement, with each party having distinct relationships with one another. The three parties are: the employer, employee, and the controlling third party. Sometimes employees work in a triangular employment situation. This is where someone is employed by one employer (the recruitment agency), but is working under another business or organisation that directs or controls their day-to-day work (controlling third party). This type of relationship often happens in the labour hire industry. Common situations where triangular employment happens include:
  • An employee is employed by a recruitment or employment agency, and is sent on work assignments to another organisation, sometimes this is called labour-for-hire or ” temping”.
  • An employee of a government department or other employers is placed on a secondment for a fixed period of time with another business or host organisation.
The law allows employees in triangular employment situations to include a third party to a personal grievance they have with their employer.