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Industry welcomes the Government's decisive action to address casual employee "double-dipping" claims

"Businesses of all sizes are relieved that the Australian Government has taken decisive action to protect businesses from unfair 'double-dipping' claims by casual employees. It is obviously unfair for an employee who has been engaged as a casual and paid a casual loading to be able to pursue years of back-pay for annual leave," Australian Industry Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox, said today.

"The sensible and fair Regulation that has been announced deserves the strong support of all Parliamentarians. 80 per cent of casuals work for SMEs, and employers of all sizes would be extremely concerned about any motion put forward by any political party to have the Regulation disallowed by Parliament.

"The Federal Court's decision in the WorkPac v Skene case has exposed employers to unfair 'double-dipping' claims by casuals, and had led to a great deal of concern amongst employers of all sizes. The Regulation will provide essential protection against unfair claims, and will be good for jobs and investment.

"In conjunction with the announcement of the new Regulation, the Federal Government has announced that amendments to the Fair Work Act will be developed over the next few months to extend casual conversion rights to all employees who have worked on a regular basis for 12 months or more.

"Employers will understand the Government’s decision to address casual conversion issues in the Fair Work Act, given the Fair Work Commission’s recent decision to extend casual conversion rights across the award system. Critically, the right of an employer to refuse an employee’s request to convert on reasonable business grounds was preserved by the Fair Work Commission and will be preserved in the Government’s proposed legislation.

"The drafting of the amendments to the Fair Work Act will require considerable care to avoid any unintended consequences and we look forward to participating in the Government’s consultation process.

"Unlike the ACTU's unfair proposal to force casual employees to convert to permanent employment after a period, casual conversion provisions give employees the flexibility to remain employed casually if this is what they want. Experience shows that the majority of casual employees, when given the option to convert, prefer to remain employed on a casual basis, Mr Willox said.

Relevant Ai Group former media releases:  

  • A 4 October media release explained that the WorkPac v Skene decision, unless addressed, would have a big impact on small and medium enterprises because over 50 per cent of casuals work for businesses with less than 20 employees and over 80 per cent work for businesses with less than 100 employees.  
  • A 13 September media release identified that at least 1.6 million of the 2.6 million casuals in Australia work on a regular, ongoing basis and that the potential cost impacts of the Court's decision on employers for annual leave alone are between $5.7 billion and $8 billion.

Media enquiries: Tony Melville – 0419 190 347