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Casual changes in IR bill will provide clarity and drive job growth, says peak industry body

Australia’s peak industry body for the staffing and job agency sector, RCSA, has welcomed the introduction of the Fair Work Amendment (Supporting Australia’s Jobs and Economic Recovery) Bill 2020, claiming the proposed changes for casuals will be the ‘smelling salts businesses needs to get back up off the mat after a bruising year of heavy hits.’

RCSA CEO Charles Cameron said the bill provides businesses with desperately needed certainty around the engagement of casuals which, in turn, will drive job growth.

“The Skene and Rossato decisions flipped long-standing accepted legal practice for engaging casuals in this country on its head,” Cameron said.

“It ripped the rug out from under employers who were doing the right thing by the law at the time. It changed the rules and it changed them retrospectively.”

Cameron said the retrospective nature of the rulings meant that employers, who had engaged casuals appropriately under the law at the time, were now forced to carry huge unanticipated financial liabilities for doing so.

“Over the past two years, employers have been saddled with unbearable financial liabilities and left to navigate a swirling fog of uncertainty in relation to engagement of casual workers,” he said.

“It was never the intent of legislation that casual workers should receive leave entitlements twice. Businesses, especially small business, will welcome the clarity this bill provides around engagement of casuals moving forward.

“We particularly welcome moves to address the financial liabilities the decisions created for businesses who were following the rules of the time.”

Cameron said that casual employment will be essential to accelerating Australia’s economic recovery.

“In uncertain times, flexible labour supports business confidence by helping organisations flex up, flex down and across to meet changes in demand and pivot to new lines of business with minimal risk,” he said.

“Now more than ever, flexibility for business – especially small and medium enterprises – will be the deciding factor in whether and when they decide to invest after this economic shock.

“While the Bill will require a lot more process and systems for business, it will, if passed, remove a crippling burden, freeing business up to create jobs and drive our economic recovery.

“Anyone who stands in the way of this legislation stands in the way of jobs and economic recovery in Australia.”

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