|Issue No 41||26 November 1999|
Will the Real Casual Workers Please Stand Up?
It's time we had a closer look at casual work and the employment arrangements that many so-called 'casuals' work under, says a major new report to be released in Sydney next Tuesday.
At 26 per cent of the workforce and rising, Australia's 'casual' work rate is booming and is now the second highest amongst developed countries.
But is this the real casualisation rate? The new report, entitled Choice and Coercion: Women's experiences of casual work, finds that many workers are classified by employers as 'casual' who are not employed on a short-term, irregular or seasonal basis.
About 60 per cent of both men and women who currently work full-time and are catergorised as 'casual' have been with the one employer for over a year.
Women who work part-time are particularly disadvantaged, with some 60 per cent of those classified as 'casual' having been with their current employer for over a year.
Nor is it clear that all casuals are being paid their 'casual loading', which in any event the report says may not adequately compensate them for the uncertainty of their employment and for not having entitlements like holiday, sick and maternity leave.
The report also throws new light on myths about women's high representation among casual workers, including the belief that they prefer casual work to help them balance their family responsibilities.
The report strongly suggests that many women may not be doing short-term, unpredictable work at all, but are classified as 'casuals' by employers who have miscalculated either casual employment costs or their own staffing needs.
The report calls for reassessment of the framework for regulating casual work, and more clarity about types of employment.
The report was produced for the Evatt Foundation by Meg Smith of Labour Market Alternatives, and completes a research project funded by the NSW Department for Women.
It will be launched at 6 pm on Tuesday 30 November, following a Casual Work Seminar at the LHMU Auditorium in Haymarket that commences at 3 pm.
Speakers at the seminar will be Meg Smith, Dr Anne Junor of Canberra University, who will discuss her research on casual work in the banking and finance sectors, Grant Poulton of Australian Business, who will speak about industries and firms using casual workers and provide some employers' perspective, and Naomi Steer from the NSW Labor Council, who will talk on union approaches to casual workers.
Interview: A Bob Each Way
ALP tactician Bob McMullan is responsible for charting Labor industry policy into the next millennium. He tells us where he’s heading.
Unions: Organiser of the Year
Just ten days to go before entries close for our $2000 air ticket. Here’s another nomination.
History: Labour Daze
A report from the 6th National Biennial Conference of the Australian Society For The Study Of Labour and Community.
Politics: Tomorrow’s Questions
While the turn of the century sees Sydney play host to the Olympic games, the International Youth Parliament 2000 will bring world focus to contemporary issues facing young people.
Health: Red Ribbons
December 1, World AIDS Day has a special place in the history of the AIDS pandemic.
International: Organised Chaos
Persistent rumours are floating around Jakarta that the former boss of the official pro-Soeharto Indonesian trade union movement is about to be charged with corruption.
Economics: Seattle Numbers Grow for WTO Protest
News of the agreement to smooth China’s entry to the World Trade Organisation has created its own "China Syndrome" for organisers of the Seattle WTO event.
Satire: Too Many Media Players!
The Productivity Commission has issued a report calling for the abolition of existing cross-media ownership laws.
John Birmingham has lifted the lid on Sydney’s shady past - and found trade unions to be at the centre of the sordid tales.
Deface a Face: Reith Loses His Shine
With his Second Wave looking more like a splash in the bath-tub, Workplace Relations Minister Peter Reith still reigns as the union movement’s favourite bogeyman.
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005