Australian government rolls out new measures to strengthen casual worker rights
Under the Australian government’s new workplace reforms, casual workers who have been employed by the same firm for a year and in regular shifts for six months must be offered permanent employment.
Workers will be allowed to decline the offer, but firms are still obligated to make a new offer to candidates every six months throughout the term of their employment.
The move by the government aims to make it easier for long-term casual workers to transition into permanent roles, in hopes that it would address job uncertainty amid the impact of COVID-19 on the economy.
The changes, one part of five of an omnibus bill, will also include a new statutory definition of casual employee under the Fair Work Act, in which an employee is considered to be a casual worker if the job is offered without “firm advance commitment” to continue.
The omnibus bill will be presented to Parliament on Wednesday, and include four other industrial relations reforms that will strengthen casual workers’ rights to permanent jobs.
To date, there are 2.6 million casual workers in Australia, with 1.35 million of them working regular shifts for their employers for over 12 months.