The ACTU has today strongly welcomed the Labor Party’s plan to support a choice for up to 1.3 million long-term casual workers to convert to ongoing employment and access basic job entitlements such as paid sick leave and annual holidays.

In response to Labor’s announcement earlier today, ACTU President Sharan Burrow said:

“Labor’s new plan is a major initiative that will help fix the collapse in job security that has been caused by the casualisation of Australia’s workforce in recent years.”

“There are now 2.2 million casual workers in Australia who have no access to paid sick leave or even annual holidays.”

“Sixty per cent of these people – over 1.3 million – are long-term casuals who have been with their employer for more than a year.”

“Around 450,000 casuals have been with their employer more than five years – these people are permanent employees in all but name.”

“High rates of casualisation are bad for the economy and bad for families.”

“The decline in skills development that is associated with casual employment poses serious risks to productivity that will harm the economy.”

“On a personal level, casuals have difficulty borrowing for a home or car, accessing childcare and managing their household budgets.”

“They even miss out on paid leave to care for a sick child.”

“Labor’s new policy to give a stronger charter to the Australian Industrial Relations Commission supports more job security for casuals and addresses one of the fastest growing problems in the Australian workforce.”

“Labor’s new plan contrasts strongly with the Howard Government’s policy of actively undermining job security and promoting the casualisation of the workforce.”

“Since the election of the Howard Government in 1996 there has been a massive growth in casual work and now more than one in four workers are casually employed.”

“More secure and predictable patterns of work, as well as access to paid leave are essential for achieving a better balance between work and family.”