Australian politics live: NSW and Victoria to ease Covid restrictions; final sitting week of parliament | Australia news





Labor and the Australian Council of Trade Unions are on a unity ticket in voicing concerns about the government’s proposed changes to casual employment.
Asked what rights the bill takes away, shadow industrial relations minister, Tony Burke, said:”The right the casuals have at the moment is if they are being abused as casuals, if they are in fact being employed as permanents, then they are able to go through a process and get [permanent] entitlements … So if the employer is only giving them the insecurity of casuals, but you look at the commitments that are being made in terms of future hours, you look at the roster that’s being worked, and they’re really full-time or part-time employees, then they have a pathway to be able to access their leave. All of that leave disappears with the stroke of pain if the government gets this legislation through. All those entitlements for casuals, gone. But if an employer breaks the law, if an employer put someone on as a casual, even though they’re giving them a permanent roster and expecting them to work as a permanent, the only penalty that happens is the employer will have to put up with after 12 months the employer saying “please can you stop doing that?” And that’s it.”

Burke refused to be drawn on whether Labor could support the bill, noting it will not be introduced until Wednesday.

On Sky, ACTU president, Michele O’Neil, said although the full bill hasn’t been released unions have been told there is no right of review for casual employees if employers refuse to make them permanent.

The test of whether it is “reasonable” to refuse to make someone permanent leaves a really wide opening for employer to say here’s why I’m not going to do that”, she said.

O’Neil also rejected claims casuals are in effect double-dipping by receiving a loading and permanent entitlements.

She said:

“In the Workpac the workers weren’t getting a casual loading. And they were working alongside workers doing the same work, and they were getting less pay. If you’re doing the same work, at the same base rate and the casual is getting 25% more, then we understand the argument. But a lot of casuals aren’t receiving the loading, or are paid such a lower rate to begin with that even with the loading, they’re receiving less.”

















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