ACTU: modern awards should allow casuals to become permanent

News

ACTU: modern awards should allow casuals to become permanent

As much of eastern Australia returned to work today from a long weekend, the ACTU announced it will be pushing for casual workers to have the right to become permanent and access the benefits such as annual leave and sick leave.

WantToReadMore

Get unlimited access to all of our content.

As much of eastern Australia returned to work today from a long weekend, the ACTU announced it will be pushing for casual workers to have the right to become permanent and access benefits such as annual leave and sick leave.

ACTU president Ged Kearney said the ACTU was preparing a submission to be lodged next month to the Fair Work Commission’s 4 yearly review of the modern award system. It wants a clause in modern awards allowing casual employees to become permanent, although it has not released the details of its proposed submission.

According to Kearney, 2.2 million Australian workers (19% of the workforce) are casuals, citing Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released in May. She said it was unfair that many casuals worked regular shifts and rosters but missed out on important entitlements such as sick leave and annual leave.

“Casual employees, even if they are working regular hours, live with the knowledge that their jobs are not secure. This makes it harder for them to get loans, rent a house and get access to training and promotion opportunities."

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO Kate Carnell told The Australian it would not have a final response to the ACTU’s proposal until it has seen next month’s submission, however she was “really worried” whether the proposed clause “covered truly casual workers”.

She was also concerned over whether there would be an effect on unemployment, especially youth unemployment.

However Kearney said the clause would be cost neutral for employers: “Employers already pay casual workers a loading to make up for them not having sick or holiday pay – so making people permanent will simply give workers those entitlements at no extra cost.”

Kearney said the proposed change was targeted at workers who were permanent in everything but name, not genuine casuals such as students who worked irregular shifts in bars or restaurants.

“This is about the teachers, receptionists, disability support and aged care workers who are already genuinely working permanent hours and deserve to have that recognised.

“If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck – it’s not a rooster. These workers are permanent in all but name and recognition of entitlements.”
Post details