Protecting Workers In Our Changing Jobs Market

07 November 2019

A new report has found an increasing number of independent contractors are not adequately covered by workers compensation and often miss out on leave or superannuation entitlements.

The Opportunities in Change: Responding to the future of work report, launched today by Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas and New South Wales Treasurer Dominic Perrottet, found more than 2.5 million Australians – more than 20 per cent of the workforce – are employed on a casual basis.

And while traditional employment relationships still dominate the Australian labour market, the gig economy and platform work are fast emerging as growing sectors in the employment landscape.

The Australian workforce is also increasingly mobile, with estimates that there are more than four million movements into, out of, and between jobs in the Australian economy each year.

The McKell Institute report – commissioned by general insurer IAG – found that a focus on people as well as jobs is required to ensure that contractors, casuals and on-demand workers are not deprived of their workplace entitlements.

The comes as the Andrews Labor Government’s inquiry into the gig economy and the on-demand workforce to address concerns about wages and conditions continues.

Chaired by Natalie James – previously Australia’s Fair Work Ombudsman – the Inquiry is assessing whether contracting or other arrangements are being used to avoid workplace laws and obligations.

The emergence of new technologies has dramatically changed the way in which we live and work and governments must be attuned to negative impacts on workers.

As the nature of the workplace changes, there is also a growing global awareness of the benefits of flexible workplace practices and maintaining a sound work-life balance.

One of the biggest barriers to a more flexible workplace is a lack of understanding about the bottom line benefits for businesses.

The Labor Government will continue working with industry to ensure workplace entitlements are protected and flexible workplace practices become the norm in Victorian workplaces.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Industrial Relations Tim Pallas

“As employment changes and evolves, governments need to keep up with the market to make sure workers are protected.”

“This report is an excellent example of the critical thinking needed to explore how governments and industry and organisations can prepare for the future of work.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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