23 July, 2021
Feds looking after casuals
By George Christensen DID you know that casuals can convert to permanent work after one year, thanks to changes made by the Morrison Liberal National Government in March this year? This includes miners who are employed as casuals.
DID you know that casuals can convert to permanent work after one year, thanks to changes made by the Morrison Liberal National Government in March this year? This includes miners who are employed as casuals.
At my insistence, the Morrison Liberal National Government put draft laws before the parliament as early as 2019 to allow casual miners to convert to permanent work. Sadly, those draft laws didn’t get through the parliament because Labor blocked them in the Senate.
Thankfully, a second attempt has seen the laws pass parliament. Now, if a casual worker is doing the same work as a permanent worker for more than 12 months, their employer must write to them offering them permanency of work. There are only two exceptions to this: (1) if the employer is a small business and (2) if the employer has a valid reason not to offer permanency (such as the casual worker is working on a time-limited project).
There have been many myths around this issue of casualisation which need to be cleared up. The first is around this new law itself. Some have suggested that unscrupulous employers will be able to sack casual workers before their 12 months is up, but this is wrong as such actions could constitute unfair dismissal. In recent years, Fair Work has made such rulings relating to workers in similar circumstances. There is also the partisan claim that casualisation has been allowed to proliferate under the Liberal National Government. This is patently wrong as the current Fair Work laws were created by the Labor Party.
These Labor laws are what big companies have been using to keep casual workers on for years on end, essentially doing full-time work. Despite that, the rate of casual workers as a proportion of all workers has remained steady for more than 20 years, and the most recent rate is lower than at any point under the former Labor Government’s time in office.
Far from encouraging casualisation, the Morrison Liberal National Government has delivered to casual employees a new, universal, legislative pathway to permanent employment.