Closing the Casual Work Loophole

Policies, Publications & Submissions - January 22, 2024

In early 2024, the Australian Parliament will consider the remainder of the Closing Loopholes Bill, which will seek along with other important changes to close the casual work loophole introduced into the Fair Work Act by the former Morrison Government nearly 3 years ago.

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 who want to challenge or change their work status even more difficult.

This research note, drawing on a new survey by the ABS, highlights the extent of the problem that these Morrison-era changes have created for many workers. It finds that:

  • An estimated 554,000 casuals who have been with their employer for at least 12 months want to convert to permanent work.
  • Yet less than 5% of them – or about 28,000 – have been able to convert to permanent work because the current rules are flawed
  • Casuals wanting to convert to permanent work cite job security (61.6%) and paid leave entitlements (22.2%) as their top reasons.
  • More than 2.73 million workers are engaged in casual work, the highest number ever.

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