The word “casual” is not defined by the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. The word employee is, however, defined as follows: “Any person, excluding an independent contractor, who works for another person, or the state, who receives or is entitled to receive remuneration”. The act goes further by defying an employee as “any other person who in any manner assists in carrying on or conducting the business of an employer.”

The Consolidated Employers Organisation has previously written about casual employees. However, this article aims to advise employers on what to look out for and what to avoid when deciding to appoint a “casual worker” / “casual labourer”.

It can very easily happen that an employer appoints a “casual”, and that casual is, in fact, deemed an employee. It is well-known that a person who works less than 24 hours per month will be deemed to be a “casual” employee. The problem arises when employers fail to monitor the working hours of the so-called casual employee and then, sooner or later, such employee is working more hours and has been in employment for months on end.

Employers should therefore be cautious when appointing so-called “casuals”. It is often the case that employers appoint such “casual” workers and, after some time, terminate their contract. Employers are then faced with unfair dismissal disputes, and when faced with such a dispute, they realise that the said employee has been working full-time and will be deemed to be a permanent employee in the workplace.

When wanting to appoint a part-time or casual employee, employers are therefore advised to enter into a fixed-term contract with the employee. In such a contract, it is important to stipulate a start date and an end date. It should also clearly state that the employment contract is a fixed-term contract that will end on a specific date. Employers should also refrain from entering into such contracts that exceed a 24-month cycle.

Article By: Kenneth Lennox
Dispute Resolution Official – CEO Bloemfontein