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Part-time and casual work

part-time-workhen you arrive in Australia, full-time work may not be immediately available to you, in which case you may need to seek part-time or casual employment.

Many people choose to work on a part-time or casual basis as it suits their lifestyle. It is ideal for university students and people with young children. Many women now return to part-time work after having children rather than leave the workforce entirely, as was common in the past.

Part-time work in Australia has always been dominated by women. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, as at August 2011, almost 75 per cent of the part-time workforce was female. The number of men in part-time work has increased in recent years however. Men are more likely than women to work part-time at the start or end of their working lives.

Although the hours worked can be similar between part-time and casual work, there are some important distinctions.

Part-time work

Like full-time employees, part-time workers have a regular amount of hours that they work on an ongoing basis, although it is less than the full-time 38-hour week.

Part-time employees are entitled to annual leave and sick leave, but on a pro-rata basis. For example, someone who works 2.5 days per week, would be entitled to two weeks annual leave, rather than the four weeks that full-time employees receive.

Casual work

Casual employees aren't guaranteed a set amount of hours every week as part-time employees are. Their hours are often regular, but they can change from week to week. One of the reasons that companies hire casual workers is so they can have this flexibility with their labour requirements.

Casual employees receive a higher rate of pay than part-time employees as they aren't entitled to annual leave or sick leave. However, both casual and part-time workers are entitled to 9 per cent superannuation payments on top of their standard wage.