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Home > News > 2019 > May > A fairer future for… those in insecure work

A fairer future for… those in insecure work

Job_insecurity.pngStatistics tell us that 40% of Australian workers are employed in insecure jobs. The statistics also say that 1 million Australians are underemployed. They tell us that 1 million Australians are working two jobs.


We don’t need statistics to tell us about the impacts of insecure work in our sector; members have been sharing their stories first-hand.


We know the insecure work crisis has locked school staff, and particularly school officers, into seemingly endless cycles of fixed-term contracts – some stretching across decades.


The situation has left members suffering under the financial instability of contract work; they’ve been denied home loans and been unable to plan for their families’ futures.


Many face immense anxiety when the Christmas season arrives as they await news on whether they will have a job the following year.


Repeated insecure jobs have caused members’ mental health to suffer and left them feeling devalued as professionals.


Australia has become a world leader on insecure jobs – and it’s time for that to change.



Change The Rules on insecure work

At this election, those parties that have endorsed the Change The Rules agenda are seeking to create a fairer and more stable working environment.


We need greater protections around the use of fixed-term contracts. In our schools, staff are regularly hired on fixed-term contracts for no valid reason. Fixed-term contracts must be limited to only genuine short-term needs. Long serving fixed-term employees should be able to transition to permanent positions if they wish to do so.

The Australian Labor Party has announced its policy to limit fixed-term contracts to four consecutive contracts with a cap of 24 months' duration, before an employer would be required to offer a permanent position.


Changing the rules on insecure work would also mean ending sham contracting, where workers are forced to obtain ABNs and set up their own business for what should be a permanent job. In our schools, we have seen specialist staff such as instrumental music teachers, sports coaches and IT staff employed under such arrangements. As a result, these workers are denied basic entitlements such as superannuation, workers’ compensation and leave provisions.


Long-term casual staff should also be given pathways to permanent employment. Under the Change The Rules agenda, workers employed casually for more than 12 months would have the option to convert to permanent employment.


Successive governments have presided over growing insecure work – to the detriment of so many workers and their families who are denied a fair future.


Vote to Change The Rules on insecure work, vote for a fairer future.

Authorised by Terry Burke, Independent Education Union of Australia – Queensland & Northern Territory Branch, Brisbane.