The Australian Labor Party’s policy announcement on casual employment, which recognises that “some people like the flexibility that casual work provides,” has been welcomed by the peak industry body for recruitment and agency work, RCSA.
RCSA CEO Charles Cameron (pictured left) said with around 300,000 Australians working as agency workers, it is critical that Australia’s work laws align with the work-life needs of the nurses, teachers, office workers, engineers and IT specialists who prefer working casually in agency work.
“There is a reason less than 5 per cent of all casual employees, working as agency workers, choose to convert to permanent employment, when given the chance,” Mr Cameron explained. “Including enjoying the benefits of higher pay and increased work flexibility”.
“We will now be seeking clarification from the ALP and Bill Shorten that Australians will continue to be allowed to make their own employment choices, rather than being subjected to some form of social engineering.”
Mr Cameron cautioned the Labor Party on policies such as defining casual employment, saying it would impose further rigidity on the workforce and employers.
“There is a reason casual employment hasn’t been defined in legislation,” Mr Cameron added. “It’s because of the huge flow-on implications for awards and enterprise agreements which have dozens of different approaches to casual employment to cater for the very real differences that exist within occupations and industries”.
RCSA, while acknowledging that many of these policies sound nice in theory, are concerned that defining casual employment would in fact ‘jam up the labour market if attempted to be put in to practice’.
“By all means, as is already the case in awards, provide casuals with 12 months regular and ongoing work the right to request to convert to permanent but, equally importantly, respect the decision of hundreds of thousands of Australians to work the way they want to work,” Mr. Cameron said.
“Most of the employees RCSA members employ don’t want to work the way their parents worked and it’s time we respected those preferences”.
“This is a new generation with new expectations of what they want from their jobs. They like working flexibly when their life stage lets them.”