A vast majority of our casual employees are not eligible for the JobKeeper program. The people effected are those people who make our coffee in the morning, the saints that pour our beers at the local watering hole and those that cook our chicken parmis just right.
Why? Because they were not working for a full 12-months with their employer before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Despite being casual employees, these people often work full time hours. Yes, they get paid a higher hourly rate than equivalent full-time or part-time employers- but they do not have the same security as full-time or part-time employees.
Right now, your favourite barista, who worked a 38-hour week, every week, for the past 9 months, is out of work and not eligible for the $750 per week JobKeeper benefit. Yet, their colleague, who was employed as a part-time employee, who only worked 10 hours a week, earning $200 a week, is now receiving $750 per week through the JobKeeper program.
Not fair, right?
To give our casual workers security going forward, the Federal Court on Wednesday ruled in the decision of WorkPac v Skene ruling in 2018 that casual employees, working regular and systematic hours with “predictable periods of working time” are entitled to annual leave, sick leave and other entitlements full-time employees get.
Before you get too excited for the important coffee brewing, beer pouring, parmi making people in your life, the Federal Government is considering appealing the decision. Why? Because it is estimated that the effect of the judgment could cost businesses $8 billion.
However, we agree with the President of Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, Tony Maher: – “Employers must now stop with the nonsense that calling a worker a casual makes them so. When a job is full-time, regular and ongoing, it is permanent and deserves the security and entitlements that come with permanent work.”
The decision on Wednesday might just force our business to provide our important casual workers the luxury of security by offering them an equivalent full-time or part-time position.