Entering the workforce is an exciting time. FINALLY, CASH MONIES, PRAISE THA HEAVENS.
The most common type of work you’ll encounter during school is definitely casual employment, but when you leave, you may apply for any depending on your circumstance.
If you’re employed full-time, you have ongoing work, approximately 38 hours each week. The actual hours are agreed between you and your employer and they’re set by an award or registered agreement in the form of a contract.
With a full-time contract, you’ll get a bunch of additional perks depending on what you and your boss have agreed on. Stuff like holiday leave (also known as annual leave), which is built up the longer you work and means you can still get paid while you’re relaxing on some tropical beach somewhere (the literal dream). You’ll also get sick leave, which is a set number of days each year where you will still get paid even if you’re not at work, and potentially RDOs (Rostered Day Off), which can be paid or unpaid. If you work outside of your normal hours, you could also be getting overtime pay or time in lieu, which is time off for the amount of hours you have worked overtime.
Full-time is great for budgeting, especially if you don’t have other commitments like study! However, it can be difficult to score more time off for fun adventures overseas. It also means that you’re most likely locked in to a 5-day week. But, if you need cash and stability, full-time is the way to go.
Part-time employment operates under the same arrangement as full-time, except you work less hours. You’re a permanent employee on a contract and you’re entitled to holiday leave and sick pay, though not as much as full-time workers, of course.
Again, this is a great arrangement if you want a budget to stick to while you’re studying. They’re not going to walk up and drop you with no notice. It can be difficult if you want a day off for a sick party though – you need to make up those hours that same week if your employers are flexible, otherwise it can get real confusing at head office (See: How to Make Enemies in Your Workplace).
Casual employees are entitled to a higher hourly pay than full-time and part-time workers. This is because of a thing called ‘casual loading’, which means that instead of sick leave and holiday leave you get some extra dollars on your hourly wage. You’re also entitled to 2 days of unpaid carer’s leave and 2 days of unpaid compassionate leave per occasion. If you want to take a day or so off to do volunteer work, you can also access unpaid community service leave.
Casual work is great because you’re not bound to a contract, so you can arrange working hours that suit your availabilities. It sucks because your boss can just as easily cut your shifts as they can give you them. They can also dismiss you, just like that, with no warning, and you can really only apply for unfair dismissal if you’ve been working on a frequent and regular timetable for some time. This is why you need a bit of a backup financially if you’re working as a casual employee and have financial responsibilities like a phone bill, rent or a hectic social life… so save that casual loading for a rainy day.