Thursday, October 4, 2018

By business reporter Stephanie Chalmers

Updated 25 Sep 2018, 

Employers are pushing for the creation of a new category of worker that would see casual loading slashed in exchange for some leave entitlements, but unions have slammed the proposal.

The NSW Business Chamber has made an application to the Fair Work Commission for a new class of employee under some awards, called "perma-flexi".

The proposal would see casual loading cut from 25 per cent to 10 per cent, with employees able to accrue leave but still be rostered on only as needed.

The chamber said it will avoid "double-dipping" of benefits, after the Federal Court ruled that a casual truck driver was entitled to annual leave, as he worked regular and predictable shifts.

"For the last 120 years, business has employed casual employees and paid them a higher hourly rate in lieu of annual leave and sick leave," said the chamber's chief executive Stephen Cartwright.

"The Federal Court's recent decision in the Workpac case indicated that some casuals can now claim both the casual loading and annual leave and sick leave on top of this."

The chamber's proposal includes workers employed under the following awards:

Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award 2010
Aged Care Award 2010
Security Services Industry Award 2010
Contract Call Centres Award 2010
General Retail Industry Award 2010

Employers would still be permitted to change the work hours of perma-flexi workers from week to week, without overtime entitlements.

Workers would be entitled to paid annual, personal, compassionate and community services leave, as well as a notice period if they are terminated.

Unions are opposing the push, arguing it would destroy permanent work.

"The business lobby's push to make workers permanently casual threatens the job security of all working people," ACTU secretary Sally McManus said in a statement.

"Unfortunately, many employers would jump at the opportunity to casualise their workforce so they can chop and change their hours of work whenever they like."

The ACTU said people working under the proposal would have their loading cut but still no guaranteed hours, and would be unable predict their income or hours from week to week.


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