Closing the Casual Work Loophole for Tasmania

Policies, Publications & Submissions - January 19, 2024

Next month the Australia Parliament will consider the remainder of the Closing Loopholes Bill, which will seek to close the casual work loophole introduced into the Fair Work Act by the former Morrison Government nearly three years ago, among other things.

Those changes have effectively allowed an employer to label any employee a casual in their contract of employment and made the pathway for those employees that want to challenge or change their work status even more difficult.

This research note draws on a new survey by the ABS to highlight the damage that these Morrison-era changes have created for many Tasmanian workers. It finds that:

• An estimated 11,000 Tasmanian workers who have been with their employer for at least 12 months want to convert to permanent work.

• Yet less than 5% of them – or a bit over 500 of them, have been able to convert to permanent work because the current rules are flawed.

The research note also finds that casuals in Tasmania are being hit the hardest by the cost of living crisis: earning $600 a week on a median basis or $42 less than the national figure of $642. That crisis is also falling more on the shoulders of women: 58% of casuals in Tasmania are women compared to 53% nationally.

For many, and especially those on the frontline of the cost of living crisis, this Bill would provide them with much needed security in their lives. For those employees who prefer casual work, it enshrines their right to remain casual. Accordingly, Unions Tasmania and the ACTU call on the Australian Parliament to pass the remainder of the Closing Loopholes Bill as soon as possible.

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