"Casuals make up around 20% of the Australian workforce, providing vital flexibility to employers and employees. The Fair Work Act needs to be urgently amended to define a casual employee in a simple and clear manner to address the uncertainty caused by the Federal Court's Workpac v Skene decision, and now the Workpac v Rossato decision. The current laws, as interpreted in these decisions, operate as a major deterrent to the employment of casuals.
"The expression 'casual employee' needs to be defined in the Fair Work Act, in line with the common definition included in modern awards – that is, 'a casual employee is an employee engaged and paid as such'. An employee engaged as a casual and paid a casual loading (or a loaded rate that accounts for a casual loading) should not be allowed to turn around years later and claim the entitlements of a permanent employee, like annual leave.
"With unemployment and underemployment rapidly increasing during the COVID-19 crisis, employers need to be encouraged to retain and take on casual employees – not deterred from doing so.
The following statistics highlight the implications of today's decision for the Australian economy:
"Parliament needs to act now, to address the uncertainty caused by the Federal Court's Workpac v Skene and Workpac v Rossato decisions, and to preserve fairness for all parties," Mr Willox said.
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