Business Welcomes Closing of Casual Employment Loophole

Wednesday 12 December, 2018 | By: Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry | Tags: casuals, casual employees;

“Government is to be congratulated for closing a loophole that has created months of uncertainty and called into question the employment of hundreds of thousands of Australians, particularly young people, students, parents and carers," said James Pearson, the Chief Executive of Australia’s largest voice for small business, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Mr Pearson said the Australian Chamber welcomed the Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations announcing that a new regulation will make it clear that current and former casual employees cannot claim compensation for entitlements such as annual leave, public holidays etc. where they have already received a casual loading (generally 25% higher pay) in lieu of these entitlements.

The new regulation will address the ‘double dipping’ problem created by the Federal Court’s decision in WorkPac Pty Ltd v Skene [2018] FCAFC 131, of August 2018.

“Australians know it’s not fair to be paid twice for the same work – that’s not a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work,” Mr Pearson said.

“The Federal Government is stepping in to restore common sense in how casuals are paid.

“I have been approached by small business people genuinely worried about losing their businesses, homes and livelihoods following the Workpac v Skene decision. Small business people employing casuals across Australia will welcome the certainty delivered by today’s announcement.

“Today’s announcement is also positive for jobs. With over 300,000 young Australians leaving school at this time of the year, it is timely that employers will be able to offer casual jobs without the risk of unexpected and unfair claims down the track”.

However, Mr Pearson said many employers will be concerned at the prospect of more employees being able to convert from casual to full or part time employment.

“Casual conversion is rarely consistent with the realities of operating a business. It reduces scope for employees and employers to negotiate a balance that meets each of their needs.
“We need to remember that most casuals chose to stay casual because they like the additional pay and flexibility.

“We look forward to inputting the government’s implementation of extended casual conversion rights to ensure the interests of businesses, employees and job seekers are protected”.

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