Labor doubles down on new casual reg


Labor doubles down on new casual reg

Labor is pulling out all stops to overturn a new regulation aimed at preventing 'double dipping' by casuals.

Labor is looking to overturn the new Fair Work Regulation regarding casual worker entitlements.

A motion proposed by Labor’s Doug Cameron could disallow the Fair Work Amendment (Casual Loading Offset) Regulations 2018 which was created by the Liberal government with the goal of preventing workers employed as casual from claiming NES entitlements. 

Under the regulations, if a worker who was originally hired as casual is later found to not be casual, the employer can apply for paid casual loadings to be offset against any NES entitlement claim. 

Labor’s proposed disallowance motion has been postponed until April 2019. 

Minister’s intervention

The Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations, Kelly O’Dwyer MP, considered the new regulation necessary after the Skene case, a decision involving Workpac which saw a casually employed truck driver successfully claim he was actually a permanent employee.

Ms O’Dwyer has since intervened in a similar case, Workpac v Rossato, out of concern the decision in the Skene case would allow for potential ‘double dipping’ due to confusion in distinguishing between permanent and casual employees. The Rossato case has been adjourned 16 until 25 February 2019. 

This year, Adero Law firm launched a class action against Workpac for alleged underpayments. The firm is hoping to recover more than $84 million for an estimated 7000 workers. 

Business organisations against motion

According to business organisations, the motion proposed by Labor could reopen the loophole that was previously allowing 'double dipping'.

“Small businesses employ most casual workers, and so small businesses are most at risk from this disallowance motion,” said Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO, James Pearson.

“This motion would reopen a loophole to allow double dipping, which could cost businesses and society up to an additional $8 billion, and would threaten the viability of many small businesses, and the casual jobs they provide.”

NSW Business Chamber CEO Stephen Cartwright expressed a similar view.  “If this becomes the law, it could send thousands of small business owners to the wall, and see their employees, both permanent and casual, out of work,” said Mr Cartwright. 
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