Casuals causing election consternation


Casuals: nervous time for print business owners who may have to pay back entitlements

The election statements coming from the Labor Party on casual employees are causing increasing angst amongst business leaders and at the PIAA.

Labor wants to give casuals the right to become permanent if they request it – currently employers can refuse. According to the PIAA and other business leaders, the changes may impede small business owners’ hiring decisions and ultimately affect how small businesses are managed after the Federal Election.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten is already under fire from employers for saying he will restrict foreign workers coming into the country by increasing their minimum pay and making the visa more expensive.

Sam Puri, Industrial Advocate for PIAA says, “Small business owners should be left to manage their businesses. They know whether they need to employ full-time, part-time or casual staff, and the last thing they need is oversight from a third party, particularly if they have reasonable business grounds for their decisions. Not every small business has the ability to employ permanent staff, and small business is the lifeblood of the Australian economy and the largest job creation sector. It does not make sense to make things tougher for them.”

Casual staff are a feature of many printing businesses, which typically have peaks and troughs. The Federal Opposition is also looking to change the definition of casual employment. Under the majority of modern awards, an employee is considered a casual if they are employed as a casual and paid a casual loading. However, that all changed in 2018 with the full Federal Court’s decision in Workpac Pty Ltd v Skene. Now the Federal Opposition is seeking to define who is considered a casual by using “objective” criteria, which is currently unknown.

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