With the Federal Election fast approaching, Scott Morrison’s government is still missing in action in addressing the insecure work crisis.
What is insecure work?
Insecure work takes many shapes and forms, and new versions continue to emerge. There are 5 main categories that define insecure work:
- Casual work
- Insecure contracting
- Gig Economy work
- Fixed term contracts
- Labour hire
Basically, workers who fit into one of these categories all share an ongoing risk to the certainty and stability of their job. This includes little or no paid leave entitlements, less pay for the same work as permanent employees, or lack of guaranteed continuity in their employment.
Insecure work gives employers a huge amount of freedom to exercise discretion on these basic rights with almost no safeguards in place for their workers.
What’s the issue?
Insecure work is a huge problem in Australia, with recent analysis estimating 4.1 million people (or 1 in 3 workers) are now in insecure forms of employment.
There is also a myth that insecure work just affects young people in their first job, but the truth is completely different. Working women are most likely to be insecurely and casually employed. And women from non-English speaking backgrounds are even more impacted.
We’re all feeling the burden of the rising costs of living, and insecure workers bear the brunt of this much more than their counterparts in permanent employment.
Paying for bills, housing, health and childcare is an ongoing challenge for people taking home less pay and can’t take paid leave for personal reasons. This is a simple cause-and-effect trajectory: insecure work leads to insecure finances.
This also takes a massive toll on your physical and mental health. Living with the uncertainty of not knowing where your next pay cheque is coming from can be crippling.
If you’re feeling sick, you’re left with the burden of deciding whether to soldier on or forfeit the income you need to survive. This is unacceptable.
What role does the Government play in insecure work?
The crisis of insecure work is one on which Scott Morrison and the Coalition has completely failed to act.
Since they came into power in 2013, we’ve seen figures of insecure work grow massively. This issue was made far worse at the beginning of the pandemic, with 540,000 casual employees losing their jobs due in part to Morrison’s refusal to support them with JobKeeper.
When faced with practical solutions to these problems, Scott Morrison has been missing in action. Since the Coalition has been in government, they have failed to:
- introduce a common sense and fair definition on who a casual worker is
- close the legal loopholes to put an end to sham contracting
- implement recommendations granting new rights to gig workers
- change the laws to limit the use of fixed term contracts and move workers onto permanent jobs
- pass “Same Job Same Pay” legislation.
Time and time again, the Morrison Government has completely turned their back on people in insecure work.
This is hardly the first time Morrison has gone missing in action when workers need him most, but we now have the opportunity to change that.
It’s your choice how you vote this election, but we need to fix worsening job security and the cost-of-living crisis. Australia can do so much better than Scott Morrison and his Government.