Casuals Chaos Reigns: ASGA's action plan

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The Australian Sign & Graphics Association has issued a five-point action plan and other guidance under a bulletin entitled Chaos Reigns to help sign and display printers deal with the fallout from the new casuals double dipping ruling.

Click here for the Print21 report on the new ruling.

Casuals: nervous time for print business owners who may have to pay back entitlements
Casuals: nervous time for print business owners who may have to pay back entitlements

Under the plan in its bulletin, AGSA said employers should ensure that it is clearly documented in an employee’s employment contract that they are employed as a casual. It said to make sure the casual employees do not have predictable hours of work and that you do not provide rosters laid out weeks in advance. It also said casual employees should be paid 25 per cent more than your permanent employees with that specified on their payslip and casual employees can and do, from time to time, reject shifts that are offered.

ASGA said one thing employers can do is consider transferring their casual employees who work regular hours to a part-time role. It said, “Ironically, this will lead to a lower wage bill over time.”

The ruling from the Federal Court means that even though casuals are paid a 25 per cent loading, if it can be shown their work is regular they are entitled to the full range of allowances that permanent staff receive, such as holiday pay, sick pay, parental leave, and the like – the so-called double dipping.

The ruling – based on a case in the mining industry – has caused uproar in the business community, especially the printing industry, which relies heavily on casuals to get through the peaks and rush jobs inherent in the trade. The government is now under intense pressure to change the workplace laws although the unions will strongly resist any change, and under the new entente cordial between the two sides business fears the political will may not be there.

ASGA highlighted the greater concern to small businesses, when its bulletin said, “Its impact is to potentially expose employers, including ASGA members, across the country, to significant retrospective bills for unpaid leave, especially annual leave.”

Small businesses of all types across the country are fearful current and former casuals will claim the entitlements, which could run into ruinous amounts in the Covid depressed business environment.

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