Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
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Casual Worker

Questions

  1. Who are casual workers?
  2. What do you mean by a department or agency?
  3. Are casual workers subject to the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA)?
  4. Are casual workers employees of the department/agency in which they are hired?
  5. How are casual workers hired?
  6. Can casual workers apply to internal appointment processes?
  7. Can casual workers apply on external appointment processes?
  8. Do the occupational group qualification standards apply in the hiring of casual workers?
  9. Can a casual worker be hired on a part-time basis?
  10. Is there an exception to the 90 working day maximum?
  11. Are designated holidays counted in determining the 90 calendar days?
  12. Do casual workers pay union dues?
  13. Is there a central policy on the hiring of casual workers?
  14. Who has the authority to hire casual workers?
  15. Are there conditions of employment that a casual worker must meet?
  16. Must the department issue a letter of offer to the casual worker?
  17. How do you determine the pay rate of a casual worker?
  18. Can casual workers be paid above the minimum of the pay scale?
  19. What benefits are casual workers entitled to?
  20. Are casual workers entitled to the bilingual bonus?
  21. Are casual workers entitled to vacation leave?
  22. Are casual workers covered by the collective agreements?
  23. Are casual workers entitled to sick leave?
  24. Are casual workers entitled to bereavement leave?
  25. Can a manager grant a casual worker leave without pay?
  26. Does the Workforce Adjustment Policy apply to casual workers?
  27. Under what conditions may a casual worker be terminated without notice?
  28. When does a casual worker receive pay in lieu of notice of termination?
  29. Are casual workers eligible to receive remuneration for overtime?
  30. Does a job need to be classified for a casual worker?
  31. Can casual workers be hired as EXs?
  32. Does a department need to count a casual EX-04 or EX-05 against their authorized baseline of EX-04 and EX-05 positions?
  33. Do casual workers need to meet the official language requirements of the job?
  34. Do casual workers need to take the official language test to confirm that they meet the bilingual needs of the position?
  35. When do departments hire casual workers?
  36. Can casual workers supervise employees?
  37. Can casual workers be given signing authority?
  38. Where can I get more information?

Answers

Who are casual workers?

Casual workers are hired for specified periods that may not exceed 90 working days in one calendar year, in a department or in an agency to which the Public Service Commission (PSC) has exclusive authority to make appointments. The period of casual employment may be for one or more than one term, but is not to exceed 90 working days in a department or agency in a calendar year.

What do you mean by a department or agency?

Department or agency means the organizations listed in Schedule I and Schedule IV of the Financial Administration Act (FAA), unless excluded by specific acts, regulations or Orders in Council. These departments and agencies form the core public administration andare subject to the provisions of the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA).

Are casual workers subject to the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA)?

No.  Casual workers are not subject to the provisions of the PSEA.  Although the authority for deputy heads to make a casual appointment falls under Section 50 of the PSEA, all other provisions of the Act are not applicable to casual workers. Their appointment is not based on merit as defined in the PSEA.

Are casual workers employees of the department/agency in which they are hired?

No.  Casual workers are not considered as employees of the department/agency nor are they employees of the federal public service.  They are not considered employees under the Public Service Labour Relations Act (PSLRA).

How are casual workers hired?

Casual workers are hired through an appointment process; however, the hiring process including the casual appointment itself is exempt from the provisions of the PSEA (except for Section 50). As such, a full assessment of merit is not required in hiring a casual worker.

Casual employment is a resourcing option provided to deputy heads to meet short-term, unforeseen and urgent operational needs of the organization. As such, the appointment process is exempt from the application of merit as established in the PSEA.  Nonetheless, casual workers are to be hired in a fair and consistent manner with evidence that, in the opinion of the manager, the person is competent to do the work to be performed.

Can casual workers apply to internal appointment processes?

No.  Casual workers are not eligible to apply in internal advertised or non-advertised processes; they are not eligible to be considered for appointment in any internal appointment process.

Can casual workers apply on external appointment processes?

Yes.  Casual workers can apply on external appointment processes and would then be subject to a complete assessment based on merit as established in the PSEA.

Do the occupational group qualification standards apply in the hiring of casual workers?

No.  As per sub-section 50(3) of the PSEA, the Treasury Board occupational group qualification standards do not apply to casual workers.  However, the hiring manager is accountable to ensure that the casual worker is qualified and competent to undertake the duties to be performed – especially for work of a professional or technical nature. In so doing, the occupational group qualification standards should be used to guide the manager's hiring decision.

Can a casual worker be hired on a part-time basis?

Yes. As a part-time casual worker, the number of hours worked in a day constitutes one full working day in calculating the maximum 90 working days in a calendar year in a department or agency.

Is there an exception to the 90 working day maximum?

Yes. However, the exception is applicable only to casual workers hired in the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer for the purposes of undertaking duties related to an election or a referendum. In this case, the maximum of 165 working days in a calendar year is permitted under sub-section 50.1 of the PSEA for casual workers hired in this organization to perform these related duties only. 

Are designated holidays counted in determining the 90 calendar days?

If the casual worker is required to work on a designated holiday and has worked on the designated holiday, this day worked is counted towards the maximum working days of casual employment in that department or agency for that calendar year. 

Do casual workers pay union dues?

No. Casual workers are not employees of the public service and are not subject to paying union dues. 

Is there a central policy on the hiring of casual workers?

No. There is no central Treasury Board policy on the hiring of casual workers.  Casual employment is a resourcing option provided to deputy heads under the authority of the Financial Administration Act (FAA).  Section 50 of the PSEA gives the appointment authority and exempts casual appointments from all of the other provisions of the PSEA.

Each department may decide if a departmental policy on casual employment is needed.  The TB Terms and Conditions of Employment policy instruments, as well as the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service are also applicable to casual workers.

Who has the authority to hire casual workers?

Section 50 of the PSEA gives the Public Service Commission (PSC) the authority to make appointments of casual workers into the public service.  The PSC has delegated this authority to deputy heads in departments/agencies, who have further sub-delegated this authority to the hiring managers.

Are there conditions of employment that a casual worker must meet?

Yes.  Casual workers must meet the security requirements and the other conditions of employment associated with the work to be performed before the casual appointment can be effected.

Must the department issue a letter of offer to the casual worker?

Yes.  The department/agency must issue a letter of offer to the casual worker confirming the period of casual employment and the rate of pay.

How do you determine the pay rate of a casual worker?

Casual workers are paid at the minimum rate of the applicable pay scale for the group and level assigned to the requirements of the job, in accordance with the TB Directive on Terms and Conditions of Employment (Part 2 of the Appendix, section 2.1).

Can casual workers be paid above the minimum of the pay scale?

Yes, they can be paid above the minimum as provided for in the TB Directive on Terms and Conditions of Employment. According to 2.1.2 of Part 2 of the Appendix to this Directive, the person with the delegated authority has the discretion to appoint a person above the minimum salary only when one of the following conditions applies:

  1. There is a shortage of skilled labour in the field involved, as evidenced by local or regional labour market surveys from recognized institutions;
  2. There are unusual difficulties in filling the position with properly qualified candidates (for example, the minimum rate of pay is not competitive with the rates offered by local or regional employers for similar duties); or
  3. Operational conditions require the presence of a highly skilled or experienced person who can assume the full duties of the position immediately upon taking employment (for example, there is no alternative but to pay above the minimum because training a novice person would impose an unacceptable burden on the employing organization).

What benefits are casual workers entitled to?

Limited benefits are available to casual workers. For example, they contribute to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) or the Quebec Pension Plan (QPP) as applicable and Employment Insurance (EI) only. They are not entitled to the superannuation or death benefit, disability insurance, long-term disability, Public Service Management Insurance Plan, (PSMIP), Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP) or the dental care plan.

In certain limited circumstances, casual workers may be eligible for the Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP).

Are casual workers entitled to the bilingual bonus?

No. Casual workers are not employees of the public service and therefore are not entitled to the bilingual bonus.

Are casual workers entitled to vacation leave?

Casual workers are not entitled to earn annual leave credits or to vacation leave with pay. Instead, as stated in Part 4 of the TB Directive on Terms and Conditions of Employment, casual workers are paid 4 per cent vacation pay on all hours worked, including overtime hours.

Are casual workers covered by the collective agreements?

No. Casual workers are not covered by the collective agreements.  However, certain portions of the relevant collective agreement apply, for example, overtime and compensation for work on a designated holiday is paid in accordance with the relevant collective agreement, or sick leave credits are granted in accordance with the relevant collective agreement.  The TB Terms and Conditions of Employment Policy and Directive apply to casual workers.

Are casual workers entitled to sick leave?

Paid sick leave is not granted to a casual worker. The casual worker earns sick leave credits, as prescribed in the relevant collective agreement; however, these sick leave credits cannot be granted but remain in the casual worker's leave account for future use.   

Are casual workers entitled to bereavement leave?

Yes.  Casual workers are granted bereavement leave for a period of up to three (3) consecutive calendar days to include the day of the funeral when a member of the immediate family dies. Such leave is to be without pay in the first three (3) months of continuous employment and with pay after the casual worker has completed three (3) months of continuous employment.

Can a manager grant a casual worker leave without pay?

Yes.  A delegated manager may grant the casual worker leave without pay.  As specified in the TB Directive on Terms and Conditions of Employment, such leave is not to be extended beyond the expiry date of the casual employment.

Does the Workforce Adjustment Policy apply to casual workers?

No. Casual workers are not considered employees of the public service; they are hired for a specified period and can be terminated before the end of the specified period, with or without notice.

Under what conditions may a casual worker be terminated without notice?

A casual worker may be terminated without notice for reasons such as for unsatisfactory performance of the duties assigned, misconduct, or for other causes requiring disciplinary measures, as well as for lack of work.

When does a casual worker receive pay in lieu of notice of termination?

Only if the termination is a result of a lack of work or discontinuance of a function would the casual worker receive two (2) weeks of pay in lieu of notice.

Are casual workers eligible to receive remuneration for overtime?

Yes.

Does a job need to be classified for a casual worker?

No. Jobs assigned to casual workers do not require a formally classified position. However, departments are to identify the functions or duties a casual worker is expected to perform and to obtain a fair assessment of the duties for pay purposes.

Can casual workers be hired as EXs?

Yes.  Casual workers may be hired up to and including the EX-05 group and level.

Does a department need to count a casual EX-04 or EX-05 against their authorized baseline of EX-04 and EX-05 positions?

No.  Casual workers paid at the EX-04 or EX-05 level do not count against a departmental authorized baseline, because they are not appointed against formally classified positions.  Casual employment is a staffing mechanism that does not require the creation or classification of a position regardless of the group and level.

Do casual workers need to meet the official language requirements of the job?

Casual workers are expected to meet the official language requirements of the position, or alternative administrative arrangements must be made to ensure the organization meet its official languages obligations.

Do casual workers need to take the official language test to confirm that they meet the bilingual needs of the position?

Casual workers are not required to take the official language tests administered to federal public servants. However, the hiring manager is accountable to determine that the casual worker has the language skills required to perform the duties.

When do departments hire casual workers?

Casual workers are most often hired as short-term replacements for staff and to help manage heavy workloads. At the more senior levels, casuals are used to bring in an expertise in order to support a special project or to transfer knowledge. Many times the skill set of a former federal public service employee are the ideal skills needed to support a special project, or the individual has key knowledge that would benefit federal public servants.

Can casual workers supervise employees?

Casual workers may supervise employees if management concurs that this is best for the organization.

Can casual workers be given signing authority?

Yes. The casual worker would be required to obtain the training and pass the required test to receive the delegated signing authority in order to perform such roles.

Where can I get more information?

Any enquiries or requests for additional information should be directed to your human resources (HR) advisor in your department or agency.  Should your departmental headquarters HR advisor be unable to respond to your query, s/he may contact us at Contact HR advisor by email: wpp-ppt@tbs-sct.gc.ca for further information.