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Ai Group rejects ACTU paper claiming casual pay premium a myth

"Casual employment has remained at the same level for the past 20 years – 20% of the workforce (if employees and independent contractors are included in the calculations) and 25% of the employees in the workforce (if independent contractors are excluded from the calculations)," Ai Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox. said today.

"Casual employment provides vital flexibility for employers and employees. Imposing restrictions on casual employment would destroy jobs and reduce participation in the workforce. Imposing restrictions on casual employment:

"Awards require that casuals are paid at least 25% more than the award rate. The Minimum Wage Order also requires that casuals be paid at least 25% more than the national minimum wage. The fact that the average permanent employee is paid relatively more than the average casual employee (when the casual loading is removed from the calculations) is not surprising. Many permanent employees have lengthier service and higher skills than many casual employees.

"It is not easy to compare casual employment statistics across different countries because different definitions are used. In many countries, there are a very large number of temporary workers who do not enjoy anywhere near the same entitlements as those enjoyed by Australia's casual workers.

"The Fair Work Commission's recent major Casual Employment Decision [2017] FWCFB 3541 shows that:

  • The expert evidence tendered by the ACTU was that 27.5% of long-term casuals would prefer permanent employment (see para [118], 2nd dot point). The ACTU cannot now credibly argue that the number is double that stated in its own evidence.
  • The evidence presented by the ACTU and Ai Group in the case showed that a significant majority of casuals who sought conversion to permanent employment obtained it (see para [386]).

"The ACTU's ongoing attempts to demonise casual employment need to be rejected by all political parties," Mr Willox said.