Proposed Changes to Casual Workers – What You Need to Know

The Federal Government revealed new details this week on proposed reforms to casual workers. We have outlined two of the key changes below to help you start preparing your business for the changes ahead.

Offering Casuals Permanent Employment

Firstly, the Federal Government has flagged proposed changes that will increase casual employee’s rights. One proposed change is that businesses will be compelled to offer casual workers who have regular pattern of hours a permanent part-time or full-time job after 12 months. The exception to this, is when businesses have reasonable grounds not to. The scope of the exception is currently unclear. We are waiting for the actual provision and subsequent case law to provide clarity on when this exception applies.

The Double-Dipping Issue

Many businesses breathed a sigh of relief after Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter outlined the Government’s intention to remove the issue of ‘double-dipping’. This is where employers are paying both casual leave loading as well as other benefits. Mr Porter stated that their proposed ‘solution to the double-dipping problem created by the Rossato decision will give business the confidence and certainty they need to invest, grow and start hiring again, knowing that they will not have to pay people twice for things like sick leave and loadings always meant to compensate casual workers for those things.’ For context, you can read our full summary and discussion of the Rossato decision from earlier this year here.

What This Means for Your Business

Whilst we don’t know exactly what the language and scope will be for these reforms, it is clear the Federal Government is planning substantial changes to the rights and management of casual employees. This will undoubtedly affect many businesses who may need to consider restructures in 2021. To ensure a smooth transition through these proposed changes, contact one of our workplace relations and industrial relations experts. Call our specialist consultant Elise Jasper on 0424 013 551 or email elise@workplacewizards.com.au.

James Hampel

James Hampel

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