Employment of casual staff guideline
Intent and objectives
Casual staff provide an important staff resource at the University and play an integral part in the quality of the programs and services delivered. Circumstances vary widely across the University and RMIT needs to maintain flexibility at the local area whilst ensuring that sound practices are in place. The following information aims to assist in managing employment of casual staff.
Fixed term and continuing staff
In order to ensure the most suitable candidate has been selected for a role it is necessary to have a clear idea of the work that is required to be performed as well as the relevant skills, knowledge, experience and qualifications required. The selection criteria should be explicit, commonly known and agreed by the people making the selection.
It is the hiring manager’s responsibility to ensure the preferred casual has the required qualifications.
Casual staff may be recruited from a range of sources, including:
- established pool of candidates
- public advertisement in the media
- advertisement through professional associations, internally to students or similar
- job seekers approaching the University
- RMIT approaching business organisations or through industry links
- Post-graduate students
- by invitation
Every effort should be made to ensure there is a sufficient pool of applicants. Regardless of how staff are recruited, it is important that they are assessed as having the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to undertake the duties and are provided with adequate support.
In disciplines where applicants are plentiful, candidate lists for casual positions can be created so that a suitable applicant can be called upon at short notice.
It is required that more than one person is involved in the selection process and that a formal interview is conducted
3. Rates of pay – applicable to all categories of casuals
The salary rates provided in the relevant workplace agreement will apply. The rate of pay must be notified with the casual staff member before they commence employment. The casual should also understand how the rate was determined and that it includes casual loading in lieu of entitlements available to fixed term and continuing staff and provided for preparation in relation to teaching delivery.
Casual academic staff (only)
A casual academic staff member is required to deliver a lecture or tutorial of a specified duration, and provide directly associated non contact duties.
The casual rates will include payment for:
- delivery of lectures or tutorials
- preparation of lectures or tutorials
- administration of student records
- developing learning materials
- conduct of research
- student consultation
A casual academic staff member may also be required to perform duties further to those above, which should be paid separately at the appropriate rate. These duties may include:
- the conduct of practical classes, demonstrations, workshops, student field excursions;
- the conduct of clinical sessions other than clinical nurse education;
- the conduct of performance and visual art studio sessions;
- musical coaching, repetiteurship, and musical accompanying other than with special educational service;
- development of teaching and course materials such as the preparation of course guides and reading lists and basic activities associated with course coordination; (where academic judgement or full course coordination is required, payment will be in accordance with Schedule 6 sub clause 3.2 of the Academic and Professional Staff Union Collective Agreement 2010)
- consultation with students beyond that which is included in payment for delivery of lectures/tutorials;
- supervision; (a casual staff member who is supervising a higher degree by research candidate will normally be paid in accordance with Schedule 6 sub clause 3.2.1 of the Academic and Professional Staff Union Collective Agreement 2010)
- attendance at departmental and or faculty meetings as required
- All marking by a casual academic will be paid for separately (except in the case of marking which takes place during a lecture, tutorial, or clinical session). The hours allocated will be agreed based on the number of students involved and the complexity of the task. The casual employee will be paid in accordance with Schedule 6 clause 3.2 of the Academic and Professional Staff Union Collective Agreement 2010. Where the exercise of academic judgement is required the rate at Schedule 6 sub clause 3.2.1 of the Academic and Professional Staff Union Collective Agreement 2010 will apply
1. Standard marking rate (3.2.2 or 3.2.3) will apply for marking of assessments where a student is required to gather information and present it.
- Examples include where a marker is:
- checking simple facts
- checking numerical data
- marking multiple choice
- using a detailed marking guide or criteria
2. Academic Judgement marking rate (3.2.1) will apply for marking assessments where a student is required to make an argument or build a case.
- Examples include:
- marking essays or case studies that require analysis
- marking assignments that require more detailed reading, assessment and feedback
- project reports where a fixed template cannot be given
- portfolio of work, self directed projects or studio projects
There are also rates specified for repeat lectures or tutorials. For more details refer to Schedule 6 in the Academic and Professional Staff Union Collective Agreement 2010
Casual TAFE teaching staff (only)
- The paid teaching duty hour is inclusive of preparation.
- Non teaching hours cover anything that is not teaching delivery.
- The casual rates for TAFE teachers are in lieu of any other loadings and paid leave.
- It should be noted that a casual TAFE teacher will be paid for a minimum of 2 hours for each period of engagement, whether or not the time for which he/they are employed is less than 2 hours.
- Casual TAFE teaching staff teaching into vocational qualifications must demonstrate that they possess the mandatory vocational, training and assessment competencies. For more information please refer to TAFE Teaching staff mandatory competencies guidelines.
4. Employee records
The University’s central payroll system records the casual’s name, address, staff number, rate of pay, hours worked and organisation unit. It is recommended that each School maintain their own database containing details such as work experience, qualifications, subjects taught and effectiveness on each casual as this will assist them in monitoring the quality of their staff and programs. Such information should be kept at least seven years following the cessation of the staff member’s employment.
Induction is as important for new casual staff members as it is for other staff members. The manager is responsible for providing all new staff members with an induction to RMIT, their role and the work environment.
Casuals should be advised by their supervisor of the requirement to complete the mandatory online training modules as soon as they start. They also need to be advised of any specific school policies and procedures, particularly in relation to student assessment, safety and emergency procedures in workshops or laboratories, and what is expected of them.
Casual academic and TAFE teaching staff will be paid for up to five hours upon the successful completion of induction by completing the Casual induction completion form. Payment will not be made unless proof of completion is attached to this form. Professional staff are required to complete induction during scheduled hours.
Refer to the RMIT induction site for key University information..
6. Building relationships
Building and maintaining relationships with casual staff members is critical to the effectiveness of their employment at RMIT. Two way exchanges of information; giving and receiving feedback and advice; the development of a team atmosphere; invitations to casual staff members to attend staff functions, orientation sessions and briefings can all contribute to the success of the casual staff member’s appointment with RMIT. It is important to be aware of their aspirations, particularly if they wish to pursue a career in the education sector.
7. Professional development
Schools are encouraged, where appropriate to provide training and development activities for casual staff members. The supervisor should discuss suitable development activities with the casual staff member. This might include workshops, internal activities run by the school or sponsored attendance at conferences or seminars. Opportunities should be provided for casual Academic and TAFE teaching staff to meet other staff, to discuss issues and raise problems. The casual staff member should feel involved and be given appropriate recognition.
8. Monitoring performance
Casual employment is subject to satisfactory performance in accordance with the expectations set by the staff member’s supervisor.
The supervisor should maintain contact and provide feedback to the casual staff member regarding their performance. The amount of contact will vary according to the casual’s length of employment and their experience. Where the casual staff member is newly employed contact should be regular and feedback and advice given frequently.
For more information please refer to the Managing for performance policy.
9. Conversion process for eligible casual staff
A casual staff member may apply in writing (using the casual staff conversion form) for conversion to continuing or fixed-term employment provided that they meet the eligibility criteria, as outlined in the relevant clauses of the workplace agreements. The University may refuse a formal application for conversion on reasonable grounds and if it does so, will provide written reasons for rejecting the application
To be eligible to apply for conversion to either continuing or fixed term employment, a casual academic staff member must:
a) Be employed on a regular and systematic basis in the same or a substantially similar position in the same work unit either, over the immediately preceding period of 12 months, and in those immediately preceding 12 months the average weekly hours worked equalled at least 50% of the ordinary weekly hours that would have been worked by an equivalent full-time employee; or over the immediately preceding period of at least twenty-four (24) months.
b) Meet all the following criteria:
1. Have presented lectures and conducted tutorials for a minimum of an average of six hours per week over four semesters within the preceding two year period;
2. Demonstrate via previous teaching and research experience that they have appropriate expertise;
3. Have been awarded a postgraduate degree by research or made substantial progress towards a PhD;
4. Have evidence of research productivity within the preceding two year period;
5. Satisfy the MSAL requirements for the proposed level of appointment; and
6. Have demonstrated satisfactory performance against requirements during the preceding two year period.
Conversion will be to a part time or full time academic appointment at a level appropriate to the employee’s experience and qualifications in the context of appointments in the discipline. Successful applicants without a PhD will be converted to an Early Career Development Fellowship.
Professional and TAFE staff
To be eligible to apply for conversion to either continuing or fixed term employment, a professional casual staff member must be employed on a regular and systematic basis in the same or a substantially similar position in the same work unit either, over the immediately preceding period of 12 months, and in those immediately preceding 12 months the average weekly hours worked equalled at least 50% of the ordinary weekly hours that would have been worked by an equivalent full-time employee; or over the immediately preceding period of at least twenty-four (24) months.
10. Termination of employment
Long-term casual engagements should not be undertaken, as depending on the circumstances, long-term casual staff members may develop an expectation of regular and constant assignments. In such instances fixed-term contracts are more appropriate, as staff employed on a regular and systematic basis for at least six months and with reasonable expectation of ongoing employment are eligible to raise a claim of unfair dismissal when employment is ceased.
Staff employed on a regular and systematic basis must have clear expectations regarding their performance and compliance with University policy and procedures. Where a casual staff member’s performance or conduct is identified as not meeting expectations, an appropriate process of investigation must be taken.
Cases of misconduct/serious misconduct should immediately be referred to the relevant HR Manager.
Where instances of poor performance persist, the employment will be terminated following consultation with the relevant HR Manager.[Next: Supporting documents and information ]