Casual workers will tomorrow win the right to request a move into permanent
employment – a move the union representing retail and fast-food workers says is a
huge step towards addressing Australia’s insecure work epidemic.
SDA – the union for retail, fast-food and warehouse workers – National Secretary,
Gerard Dwyer, said the Fair Work Commission ruling, which comes into effect
tomorrow, Monday 1 October, will allow casuals who have at least 12 months of
continuous service and who work a regular pattern of hours to apply for their position to
be made permanent.
“This creates a pathway to permanent work for those who haven’t had that option in the
past,” Mr Dwyer said.
“For too long some businesses have used casual work as a substitute for decent secure
jobs at the expense workers and their families.”
The change means that employers must genuinely consider a worker’s request to
become permanent, and are only allowed to refuse the request “on reasonable grounds
and after there has been consultation with the employee”.
“Permanent work guarantees workers access to paid sick leave and paid annual leave
and removes the very real risk of employers cutting shifts at the last minute, which
obviously has a huge impact on people’s ability to plan their lives and manage their
“We’re talking about industries such as retail and fast-food where workers are often
living week to week. Having the ability to ask to become permanent and receive the
benefits that come along with that is going make the world of difference to many
“Of course if workers don’t want to move into a permanent role they don’t have to – this
simply gives them the option and makes it an enforceable minimum award right.
“We often see cases where casual workers are forced to go into work sick because
they can’t afford to lose a day’s pay, or hear stories of people being rejected for home
loans because of their casual work status. As of tomorrow, casual workers have a
pathway to permanent, secure work if they want it, which will help put an end to those
kinds of serious issues.”