Australian workers will benefit from more job security, better pay and a fairer industrial relations system under an Albanese Labor Government.
Labor is on the side of workers. Under Labor’s workplace policies more workers will be able to plan for their futures with certainty.
Being in secure work means people can get a bank loan to buy a home or start a business. It means they can take leave when they’re sick or need to look after their loved ones, without putting their jobs at risk. It means they can have the confidence to spend money to stimulate the Australian economy, boost growth and create more jobs.
The COVID pandemic has exposed the risks to workers and to the national economy of insecure work.
When the pandemic began, casuals - who account for about a quarter of the Australian workforce - lost their jobs eight times faster than those in more secure forms of employment. A million casual workers were excluded from JobKeeper, forcing many of them into Centrelink queues.
When you add in other forms of insecure work – contractors, freelancers, gig workers and those on temporary contracts or working in labour hire - nearly half the workforce misses out on the many benefits of a permanent job. If you’re a woman, young or from a migrant background you’re more likely to be stuck in insecure work.
According to the Centre for Future Work, the recent jobs rebound has been overwhelmingly comprised of insecure jobs. That will act as a handbrake on Australia’s recovery because people will not have the confidence to spend their money, fearing they could quickly lose their jobs again if there is another crisis or downturn.
So, to improve job security, a Labor Government will:
- Make job security an object of the Fair Work Act 2009 so that it becomes a core focus for the Fair Work Commission’s decisions;
- Extend the powers of the Fair Work Commission to include “employee-like” forms of work, allowing it to better protect people in new forms of work, like app-based gig work, from exploitation and dangerous working conditions;
- Legislate a fair, objective test to determine when a worker can be classified as a casual so people have a clearer pathway to permanent work;
- Limit the number of consecutive fixed-term contracts an employer can offer for the same role, with an overall cap of 24 months;
- Ensure a Labor government is a model employer by creating more secure employment in the Australian Public Service where temporary forms of work are being used inappropriately; and
- Use government procurement powers to ensure taxpayers’ money is used to support secure employment.
To deliver better pay Labor will:
- Work with state and territory governments, unions and industry to develop portable entitlement schemes for annual leave, sick leave and long service leave for Australians in insecure work; and
- Ensure that workers employed through labour hire companies receive no less than workers employed directly.
And to improve the fairness of our industrial relations system, Labor will abolish the Morrison Government’s Registered Organisations Commission (ROC) and the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), discredited organisations that have been used as political weapons against the union movement and workers, wasting many millions in taxpayers’ dollars.
Labor’s vision for more secure jobs with better pay stands in stark contrast with the Morrison Government’s IR proposals, which would make job security worse and allow for cuts to workers’ pay. As always, the Liberals and Nationals think the path to restoring Australia’s prosperity is through pay cuts and attacks on workers.
These IR commitments are just the first in a series Labor will make before the next election to deliver more secure jobs with better pay because Labor is on the side of workers.