Written by: Eloise Turnbull
Proposed industrial relations changes set to be introduced to parliament later this year will offer more than 850,000 regular-hour casual workers a new pathway to permanent employment. Workplace Relations Minister, Tony Burke, is expected to provide further details regarding Labor’s pre-election commitment to redefine the classification of “casual” workers.
The Government is aiming to close a legal “loophole” that allows some individuals to be classified as casuals despite working regular permanent hours, thereby denying them access to leave entitlements and greater financial security. Burke’s speech at The Sydney Institute will highlight how certain employers are treating casual workers like permanent employees without providing them with the corresponding job security, an unfair practice known as “double dipping.”
Burke assures that the proposed change will not force any casual worker to lose their loading or become a permanent employee against their will. The conversion to permanent work will be a voluntary choice for workers, and there will be no back pay involved.
This change will reverse the definition of casual work introduced by the former Coalition government and upheld by a High Court ruling. However, some elements of the existing framework “casual conversion”, such as the requirement for employers to offer eligible casual employees permanent work after 12 months, will remain unchanged.
The redefined “casual” classification is part of a broader set of workplace relations measures aimed at enhancing worker conditions and wages, to be presented in Parliament later this year.
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