Greens want casual to permanent ratios

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Greens want casual to permanent ratios

The ratio of casual to permanent employees will come under AIRC scrutiny if the Greens casualisation policy, released yesterday, becomes a reality.

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The ratio of casual to permanent employees will come under AIRC scrutiny if the Greens casualisation policy, released yesterday, becomes a reality.

The Greens want to empower the AIRC to make orders that limit the ratio of casual to permanent employees in an award or agreement.

The aim is to stop employers using casuals at the expense of permanent employees. ‘The number of casual workers is spiralling out of control. This must be stopped,’ Greens industrial relations spokesperson Senator Kerry Nettle said.

‘Almost 30 per cent of the workforce is stuck in the limbo of casual work, and on top of that, the ACTU has found that around 75 per cent of casual workers would prefer permanent work.'

’While casual work has its place, much of the growth in casual jobs is a result of employers shirking their responsibilities to provide sick leave, holiday pay and a right to permanent employment for the people that work for them.’

Sector needs acknowledged

A spokesperson for the Greens told WorkplaceInfo that casual to permanent ratios were not about disadvantaging organisations and companies that legitimately needed casuals.

The Greens Casualisation Policy acknowledges that certain industry sectors, such as fruit picking, retail and tourism required casual workers at peak times.

But the Greens spokesperson added that some sectors and employers were using casuals for more than just peak times and it was these employers that the policy targeted.

Narrow the definition of ‘casual’

In addition to casual to permanent ratios, the Greens want to narrow the definition of casual employment. The spokesperson said that casual employees working in the same job, every pay period for six months or more should have permanency. 

Casual loading swap

In relation to existing and continuing casuals, the Greens are also seeking to allow casuals to swap part of their casual loading for holiday and sick leave.

Casual/permanent conversion

The Greens also want to require the AIRC to include casual to permanent conversion clauses that allow conversion after six months employment in every federal award and agreement.

The policy goes further than the ALP’s approach to casual to permanent conversion. The Greens claim that ALP plans to give workers the right to request permanency were not strong enough.   

‘An individualised conversion approach, reliant on action by insecure casuals and at the high price of their casual wage loading, will not remedy the current systemic misuse of permanent casuals,’ the policy highlights says.

‘Conversion rights are weaker and less effective than an approach that constrains the use of casuals directly at the source.’

The Shadow Workplace Relations Minister Craig Emerson disagreed. The ALP did not support a one-size fits all approach to casual labour, he told WorkplaceInfo. Any decision to convert from casual to permanent should be made in individual awards and agreements.

Conversion should be tailor-made to suit the enterprise or the occupation, not a blanket approach, he added.

The Coalition was not available for comment at time of publication.

See: Greens Casualisation Policy

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