Casual Employment

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Casual Employment

Introduction
Election promises from Labor and liberals 2004
2004 is an election year in Australia and one of the issues that the parties have diverse election promises on is to which extent employers should be authorized to use casual workers, and what rights the casual workforce should be entitled to.

Casual workers play a central part in the Australian labor market as it is the fastest growing form of employment. Next to Spain, Australia has the second largest casual workforce in the world (Munn, 2004), with an ongoing apparent trend towards additional increase. In a research note done by the Department of Parliamentary Services, it is stated that in 2003 that over a quarter of all wage and salary earnings were employed on a casual basis, and that since 1988 more then half of all new jobs created have gone to casual workers (Kryger, 2003-04). This leads to an open debate whether or not government intervention should be used to improve job security for the growing number of casual workers.

The Australian Labour Party (ALP) states; if they are to receive power, they will encourage the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) to give long-term regular employed casual workers the right to become permanent employed if the they expresses desire for it. This means that ALP wants additional permanent employees and less casual workers (Gartrell, 2004). While The Liberal Party of Australia (LPA) conversely has a devotion to enhancing labor market flexibility and believes that the ALP propose would hurt the economy to much. This will imply more casualisation of the workforce (Loughhane, 2004).

Casual employees
There is no standard definition of a casual worker, but one prevalent perception is that a casual employee is someone in a job that is "short term, irregular and uncertain". Several employers regard a casual employee to be a member of staff who is paid a higher hourly rate than a full or part-time permanent employee, and they think that this rate compensates for the lack of paid leave and other entitlements (Wageline, 2004). However, hourly rate does not define casuals.

Informal recruits should have no expectations of ongoing work, and are free to refuse to work at any time due to other commitments (Wageline, 2004). They normally have no entitlements to superannuation, annual, long service, parental or sick leave and little or no industrial protection or security (Munn, 2004), which means that they can be retrenched without a preceding warning (Munn, 2004).

The Department of Consumer and Employment Protection defines casual workers as employees that are working for short periods of time on an irregular basis with their actual hours varying from week to week, paid by the hours and without getting annual or sick leave. They don't have stable preliminary or concluding schedules, or average hours of work, but are generally contacted on a regular basis and asked to work, without ever knowing exactly when they are required (Wageline, 2004).

Trends
According to ANZ's economic update in May 2004, the number of casual workers has increased steadily over the past 15 years (Munn, 2004), however there is a considerable downfall in the rate off growth of casual positions. Rising from 19 per cent of all wages and salary earners in 1988 to 26 per cent in 1996 (Kryger, 2003-04), and then only a further 2% by 2003, making it a 28 per cent increase in total (Kryger, 2003-04).

Most casual employees are concentrated in a small number of occupations (Munn, 2004), and according to ANZ; the retail trade is the main employer of all casuals, with 44.2% of all employment in the industry being informal (Munn, 2004). Chris Munn from ANZ states that; ‘The growth in the property and business services has seen this industry become the next most significant employer of casuals, with 30.3% of all employment in the industry being casual' (Munn, 2004).

While casuals previously have been associated with young...
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