The Organisation of Working Time Act was enacted in 1997. Section 18 refers to ‘work of a casual nature’ but does not define it. This has not led to a regulatory problem of employers incorrectly categorising employees as ‘casual’ in the 20 years since enactment.
I do not believe that all casual or flexible working arrangements are wrong and should be stopped in their entirety. It is worth recalling that the UL study acknowledged that the flexibility offered by genuine casual work can be mutually beneficial for employees and employers in some cases. In certain sectors, such arrangements can help employers to satisfy peak demands and fill staffing gaps on a short-term basis. Furthermore, it is not good practice to include definitions in legislation when the plain, ordinary meaning of a word is capable of being understood by all of the bodies responsible for adjudicating on it. I am satisfied that the Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Court are capable of examining all of the circumstances of a particular case and then making an appropriate judgement as to whether or not a particular arrangement is genuinely casual.