The federal opposition has announced plans to up the rights of casual workers, but some small business owners believe this will impact their operating costs.
Last week, opposition leader Bill Shorten announced that a Labor government would legislate to allow workers the right to request permanent part-time or full-time employment after 12 months with the same employer.
Currently, there is no obligation for an employer to convert a worker to a permanent arrangement.
Mr Shorten said the move is designed to protect workers’ rights.
“In Australia, 2.6 million workers are considered casual – that’s one in four workers who are not entitled to paid leave. More than half of them have been with their employer for more than 12 months (59 per cent) and 192,000 workers have been with their current employer for more than 10 years,” Mr Shorten said in a statement.
“While some people like the flexibility that casual work provides, for others it has become a constant worry: never knowing what it’s like to have a paid sick day or paid holiday,” he said.
For some, like owner at bookkeeping business All That Counts, Lielette Calleja, the move will be damaging to micro and small business. Ms Calleja is a small business owner herself, and services the small business community.
“Absolute joke,” she said in a social media post.
“They are casuals for a reason,” she said.
“Businesses like retail can only survive with casual staff,” she said.
Others, like founder at accounting firm Illumin8, Andrew Van De Beek, have had a mixed reaction. Similarly, Mr Van De Beek runs a small business and has a range of business clients.
“Part time rates are lower than causal, thus it could assist employers, if they plan it right,” he said in a social media post.
“However, it's unlikely you will see many casuals willing to take a ‘paycut’ to get leave. It's normally the other way around,” he said.