A Bendigo employment lawyer is hopeful piloting sick and carer's leave for casual and insecure workers will help address misuse of casual work.
WR Law principal Rosa Raco believed casualisation was the scourge of the modern workplace, and encouraged employers to use casual employment the way it was intended.
"People use casuals almost like full-time permanent workers," Ms Raco said.
"A casual is someone who's on call when and if needed."
She believed the time had come for changes that prevented misuse of casual work, as evidenced by court rulings such as the Rossato decision.
Ms Raco was curious about the circumstances in which sick and carer's leave would be offered under the state government's pilot scheme.
The head of Bendigo's business council has expressed concern at the potential for an industry levy, following a two-year pilot of sick and carer's pay for casual and insecure workers in priority industries.
Be.Bendigo chief executive Dennis Bice said the Secure Work Pilot Scheme would be well accepted and supported as a government-funded initiative.
"We need to understand at a greater level what an industry levy would look like and what impost and cost there would be to businesses going forward," Mr Bice said.
The government will fully fund the scheme during the two-year pilot phase, "at no cost to business".
But any ongoing scheme will be subject to an industry levy.
The Bendigo Trades Hall has welcomed the Victorian government's Secure Work Pilot Scheme, deeming it "a great step in the fight against insecure working arrangements".
"Casual workers have had to make the difficult decision between taking unpaid time off work when sick or caring for family members and risking their work mates by going to work sick," Luke Martin, the trades hall's secretary, said.
"A guarantee of paid sick/carers leave means casual workers won't have to make that choice."
INSECURE workers will be eligible for sick and carer's pay under a new state government pilot program.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced a Secure Work Pilot Scheme would provide up to five days of sick and carer's pay at the national minimum wage for casual and workers in priority industries.
Mr Andrews said the two-year pilot would cover workforces where there was high rates of casualisation, including cleaning, hospitality, security, supermarkets, and aged care.
Casual and insecure workers in eligible sectors would be invited to pre-register for the scheme so applications could be fast-tracked if they needed to apply for payments.
An education campaign would also be rolled out to ensure eligible workers were aware of the available support.
Mr Andrews said the 2020-21 state budget would provide $5 million for consultation on the scheme's design.
He said the state government would fully fund the pilot at no cost to business, but any future ongoing scheme would be subject to an industry levy.
"When people have nothing to fall back on, they make a choice between the safety of their workmates and feeding their family," Mr Andrews said.
"The ultimate decision they make isn't wrong - what's wrong is they're forced to make it at all.
"This isn't going to solve the problem of insecure work overnight but someone has to put their hand up and say we're going to take this out of the too hard basket and do something about it - and that's exactly what we're doing."
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