A shocking 67% of injured or ill insecure workers reported not taking time off because they feared it would negatively impact their job, and 60% reported not taking time off because they had no paid leave available.

According to a recent ACTU survey, only a quarter (25%) of insecure workers felt that they had adequate support to return to work after an injury, compared to 61% of permanent employers.

Fear of reprisal from employers creates an environment where insecure workers compromise their health and safety to keep their jobs. Half (50%) of insecure workers – compared to only 32% of permanent workers – did not report a workplace sexual harassment incident because they were worried about negative consequences for themselves.

This new research confirms that insecure work is hazardous to workers’ health and safety. The union movement vows to fight all forms of insecure work, and ensure that all working Australians can rely on secure, safe employment with decent pay and conditions.

Quotes attributable to ACTU Assistant Secretary Liam O’Brien:

“Insecure work doesn’t just have massive social and economic consequences. It creates a dangerous work environment, when people don’t feel they have the adequate support to report a hazard or take time off when they’re sick or injured.

“The pandemic has further highlighted the dangers of insecure work. We don’t want hard working Australians who are just trying to make ends meet becoming COVID-19 super spreaders because they couldn’t afford to stay home.

“Insecure workers have been on the frontline of the pandemic since the beginning. Delivery drivers, aged care workers, essential retail workers, cleaners. The people who deserve paid leave the most, are the ones who are not getting it.

“Old and young Australians are overrepresented in insecure work data. Young Australians deserve to know they have a secure working future. Older Australians deserve the dignity of safe, reliable employment.

“The Morrison Government has accelerated the increase in insecure work and they need to take immediate action to fix the insecure job crisis in Australia, and start prioritising the health and safety of working people.”