Federal casual termination laws in the home stretch

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Federal casual termination laws in the home stretch

Debate on a termination Bill excluding casuals employed for less then 12 months from accessing unfair dismissal laws is expected to resume in the Senate on Monday, with the Democrats moving a new amendment they hope is supported by the Federal Government.     

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Debate on a termination Bill excluding casuals employed for less then 12 months from accessing unfair dismissal laws is expected to resume in the Senate on Monday, with the Democrats moving a new amendment they hope is supported by the Federal Government.     

A spokesperson for Democrat Senator Andrew Murray said, while the Democrats had done a deal with the Government to get the Workplace Relations Amendment Fair Termination Bill 2002 into law, nothing was certain until debate in the Senate had concluded.

A spokesperson for the Federal Workplace Relations Minister Tony Abbott said, the Government was prepared to consider 'sensible' amendments that would enhance flexibility at the workplace but at this stage it did not want to discuss any specifics or any deals.

According to the Democrats spokesperson, in the deal with the Government, the Democrats were prepared to drop their push for casuals working six months to be covered by the proposed laws, and agreed to the Government’s proposal of limiting unfair dismissal laws to casuals employed on a regular and systematic basis for at least 12 months.

In return, the Government agreed to redefine casuals employed for 12 months, the spokesperson said.

The Democrats were seeking to avoid situations where employers hired casuals, ceased their employment then rehired them again within three months, thereby negating employee access to unfair dismissal laws.

The Democrat amendment stated that a casual employee would meet the criteria of being employed on a regular and systematic basis for at least 12 months if:

  • a casual employee was engaged by a particular employer on a regular and systematic basis for a sequence of periods during a period (the first period of employment) of less than 12 months; and

  • at the end of the first period of employment, the casual employee ceased, on the employer’s initiative, to be so engaged by the employer; and

  • the employer subsequently again engages the employee on a regular and systematic basis for a further sequence of periods during a period (the second period of employment) that starts not more than three months after the end of the first period of employment; and

  • the total length of the first period of employment and the second period of employment is at least 12 months.

Under the current provisions of the Federal Workplace Relations Amendment Fair Termination Bill 2002 casuals able to access unfair dismissal laws were those:

  • engaged by a particular employer on a regular and systematic basis for a sequence of periods of employment during a period of at least 12 months; and

  • the employee has, or but for a decision by the employer to terminate the employee’s employment, would have had, a reasonable expectation of continuing employment by employer.

Murray’s spokesperson said the Government also agreed to grant casuals access to unlawful dismissal, such as on the grounds of sex, race and union membership.  

For more information go to the Parliament of Australia website - Senate Notice Paper.

 

  

 
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