Some of this is guesswork, and the extent of what’s coming is uncertain, but:
- Fixed term arrangements have a limited life. This we know already.
- Employees have greater rights to flexible work arrangements. Ditto.
- The use of casuals will be restricted, and casuals will have more rights.
- For organisations with enterprise agreements, outsourcing work will be limited to using external labour for the same price as that (otherwise) paid internally.
- Independent contractors will have the potential to access employment-like terms.
- The labour hire industry will be more regulated.
- The “gig economy” will see employment-like protections.
What’s obvious is the Labor Government’s intent to drive permanent employment and use legislative levers to reduce the number of other categories of workers.
Contracting, franchising, outsourcing and other legal devices have disrupted long established employment relationships…– ALP National Platform 2021
So, we will very likely see the disruption of long established means of contracting and engaging personnel.
This doesn’t take much of a crystal ball; anyone who has paid attention to Government messages can join the dots.
But from a labour strategy perspective, the ability:
- to flex up and flex down will be reduced and/or be more costly;
- for employees to be engaged as regular casuals and enjoy the 25 % loading will be reduced;
- to identify cost/efficiency savings through outsourcing will be reduced;
- drive competition in labour supply will be reduced (in effect, another distortion in the price of labour will apply); and
- to shift the burden of compliance to third parties, the “owners” of labour, will be reduced.
Interesting times. Of course, more employees mean more potential union members. And unions are not forgotten in the legislated levers also. They stand to gain even more rights to intervene in workplaces they can cover, regardless of membership.
Stay tuned for our series reviewing the third wave of reforms and its implications for employers and the labour market generally – commencing shortly.
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