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Ban on casual loading 'will mean pay cuts for thousands'

Business

Fair work amendments that will outlaw higher rates for casual work are out of touch with the preferences of Australians, recruitment body says.

By Philip King 9 minute read

Hundreds of thousands of workers face pay cuts because casual loading will be a casualty of the government’s work legislation, according to a representative body of the recruitment industry.

The Recruiting, Consulting & Staffing Association (RCSA) said casual employment suited many workers but the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Closing Loopholes) Bill 2023 outlawed a higher rate.

RCSA chief executive Charles Cameron said it would soon be a legal offence for a worker to receive both a 25 per cent loading and predictable hours of work.

“Given the Albanese government want to increase security of employment and deliver higher rates of pay, why in the world would they propose law that would prohibit the combination of higher pay and predictable work?” he said.

“How can a government be so blind to how people want to work in 2023?

“These new laws are out of touch, they trade off the preferences of Australians in favour of returning favours to the unions.”

The RCSA said only about 4 per cent of those employed as casuals had chosen to convert to permanent roles when given the opportunity. Workers preferred to stay casual for its greater flexibility and higher rate of pay.

“Employers will need to direct employees to choose permanent employment in lieu of casual employment, regardless of what the worker wants, and what suits them and their families,” Mr Cameron said.

“This will result in a 20 per cent reduction in the rate of pay for thousands. The other option is to kill the job off entirely.

“If an employer agrees to a request for casual work with predicable hours of work, they risk fines and prosecution.”

The RCSA said casual workers and employers were happy with the current arrangement, which offered a path to permanent work for those who wanted it.

“The government need to put regular Australians ahead of union mates,” Mr Cameron said.

“This bill will create a huge new problem for casual workers. It will either strip them of pay or strip them of stability, which is a bad outcome for people who prefer higher-paid casual work.

“Australian workers did not ask the Albanese government to insert itself into personal decisions around how they choose to live and work.  This is so disrespectful.

“Removing the option to work casually and docking your pay by 20 per cent for the privilege is gross overreach.

“This bill is about delivering on promises to unions. Australian workers and businesses are merely collateral damage in the process.”

 

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Philip King

Philip King

AUTHOR

Philip King is editor of Accountants Daily and SMSF Adviser, the leading sources of news, insight, and educational content for professionals in the accounting and SMSF sectors.

Philip joined the titles in March 2022 and brings extensive experience from a variety of roles at The Australian national broadsheet daily, most recently as motoring editor. His background also takes in spells on diverse consumer and trade magazines.

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