Australia does not need a new employment category to prevent casual workers from “double dipping” on entitlements, according to a new report.
Some business groups have been pushing for a new “flexible ongoing” employment category after a landmark decision by the Federal Court last year.
The ruling found truck driver Paul Skene was entitled to an annual leave payout from labour hire firm WorkPac despite being a casual employee because of his long-term regular pattern of work.
After the decision, the coalition government introduced a new regulation aimed at cracking down on “double-dipping”.
The regulation means where an employer has paid a casual loading to an employee engaged as a casual, it may potentially be offset against any claim for National Employment Standards entitlements.
Business groups cheered the move although some including the New South Wales Business Chamber have also proposed creating a new category of workers – a “perma-flexi” group – to address the issue.
They say the category could allow casual employees to be employed on a flexible basis as they always have been, but also receive leave entitlements.
That would come in exchange for a lower casual loading of 10 per cent, which compares to the current 25 per cent.
But in a new report, left-wing think tank Per Capita argues the category is unnecessary, because the Federal Court didn’t decide casual employees could claim both the 25 per cent loading and leave entitlement.
Instead, Per Capita says the court explicitly allowed WorkPac to offset the cost of back-paying Mr Skene his annual leave entitlements against any casual loading they had paid him.
The organisation’s executive director Emma Dawson says it shows that creating a new employment category would be a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.
Creating such a category would also incentivise many employers with volatile workloads to use the new arrangements, Per Capita believes, which would prove problematic for many workers.
“All casualisation of work is essentially a process of shifting business risk from the employer to the employee,” Ms Dawson said.
© AAP 2019