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Current work and care arrangements in Australia contribute to economic and social disadvantage for carers, the vast majority of whom are women. Patterns of labour force participation and employment provide clear indicators of the inequities inherent in Australia’s current care and work arrangements. These patterns show we do not have equitably shared care arrangements, nor equitable employment opportunities and outcomes for women. Australia requires much stronger support systems, more effective work and care policies and more secure and fairly-paid jobs to address these problems.
Almost one in five Australians (and a higher proportion of young workers) acknowledge working with potential COVID symptoms over the course of the pandemic, according to new opinion research published by the Centre for Future Work. The research confirms the public health dangers of Australia’s existing patchwork system of sick leave and related entitlements. The main
New research confirms that workers in casual and insecure jobs have borne the lion’s share of job losses during the COVID-19 pandemic – both the first lockdowns in 2020, and the more recent second wave of closures. Since May, workers in casual and part-time jobs have suffered over 70% of job losses from renewed lockdowns and
The Senate Select Committee on Job Security was appointed 10 December 2020, to inquire into and report on the impact of insecure or precarious employment on the economy, wages, social cohesion and workplace rights and conditions. This includes the extent of insecure and precarious employment in Australia, the impacts of COVID-19 with respect to job precarity and insecurity, the digitally-mediated ‘gig’ economy, and other matters. The Centre for Future Work has made a submission to the Select Committee.
In December 2020, the Senate of Australia launched an important inquiry into the federal government’s proposed Fair Work Amendment Bill.
Core features of the legislation include clarifying and expanding employer power to hire workers on a casual basis, obtain greater flexibility in the use of permanent part-time workers (adjusting hours up or down without penalty, much like casual workers), and exercise greater unilateral wage-fixing influence in enterprise agreement (EA)-making.
Australia’s labour market experienced unprecedented volatility during 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting recession. In the first part of the year, employment declined faster and more deeply than in any previous economic downturn, as workplaces were closed to control the spread of infection. Then, after May, employment rebounded strongly. The subsequent recovery has replaced over 80% of the jobs lost in the initial downturn. While considerable ground remains to be covered to complete the employment recovery, the turn-around in the quantity of work has been encouraging.
The national roll-out of the NDIS holds the prospect of a significant enhancement in both the resources allocated to disability services in Australia, and the autonomy and flexibility of service delivery for people with disability. But it also constitutes an enormous logistical and organisational challenge. And the market-based service delivery model built into the NDIS is exacerbating those challenges, by unleashing a widespread fragmentation and casualisation of work in disability services.
This factbook reviews eleven different dimensions of job security in Australia, and documents a clear and multi-faceted deterioration in the overall stability of work in the period from 2012 (the peak of the resources investment boom) to the present.
The insecure nature of work in Australia today can be illustrated through the following infographic (based on 2015 data published by the ABS). Australia has over 19 million residents of working age (which the ABS defines as anyone over 15). Of those, 12.5 million “participated” in the labour market (by working or actively seeking it). Participation has declined in recent years, in large part because of poor job prospects; that’s a turnaround from earlier decades when participation (especially by women) increased steadily.