Australia’s largest and most representative business voice, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, today called on the ACTU to end its unjustified attack on Australians choosing to work as casuals.
“The ACTU is becoming increasingly fast and loose with facts and their latest report into casual wages today makes a series of claims that simply do not stand up to scrutiny,” Australian Chamber CEO, James Pearson, said today.
“The ACTU report gives the impression that most casuals receive a loading that is lower than the 25% legally required under almost all industrial awards. This is misleading and not supported by the facts.
“The reality is any employer who is not meeting or exceeding the minimum wage for casual employment will be in breach of the law.
“More than 2.5 million Australians work as casuals, often to maximize their income, deliver flexibility or to meet their study or family commitments.
“The union movement wants to take choices away from working Australians and stamp out casual work because it doesn’t suit the union’s business model, but the reality is that many people actively choose casual work.
“This latest release from the ACTU is a rehash of old material published over a year ago.
“The ACTU should stop trying to stir up fear by twisting and cherry-picking the facts. (See ‘ACTU Myths on Casual Employment’ below).
“Too many businesses and too many employees have too much at stake to put the future of casual employment at risk in this way,” Mr Pearson said.
ACTU Myths on Casual Employment
Myth: “The rates of temporary work in Australia are not normal. They are the highest in the OECD.”
- The Fair Work Commission, the ABS and ABC Fact Check have all confirmed that the proportion of casual employment in the Australian workforce has been steady for the past two decades at around 25%.
- It is inaccurate to compare the rate of temporary work in Australia to other counties. The OECD itself has recognised that comparing cross-country statistics on non-standard work is ‘not without problems, and the process is constrained by data availability.’
Myth: “Casual workers are not being paid more, yet they are losing basic entitlements.”
- Casuals are paid an additional loading; their minimum wages are generally 22-25% higher than an equivalent employee working part time or full time.
- No one is losing anything; casual employees are paid the additional loading for leave and public holidays.
Myth: “While some casuals would prefer higher wages over permanency with paid leave, many others would not.”
- Casual workers are more satisfied with their pay than permanent employees and are more likely to consider that they are paid fairly for the tasks they perform in their jobs (2012 Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey).
- Casual employees already enjoy rights to convert to full or part-time employment under awards. While few choose to do so there is already a path to ongoing employment for those prioritising it over additional pay.