Casual employment laws should stand

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Complex workplace relations laws act as a deterrent to small businesses taking on new employees, the National Road Transport Association has told a Commonwealth inquiry.

NatRoad has told a review of the amendments to casual employment arrangements in the Fair Work Amendment (Supporting Australia’s Jobs and Economic Recovery) Act 2021 (Cth) (the SAJER Act) that the current legislation is working well.

Elements like having a dual safety net, the National Employment Standards and the large number of detailed Awards, are confusing small businesses – especially in road transport where half of all participants are self-employed owner drivers.

NatRoad says that the SAJER Act has brought certainty to the engagement of casual employees. This was a matter that was before the courts without an appropriate resolution for years.

A 2021 High Court decision determined the test for casual employment should be based on whether there was a “firm advance commitment” or enforceable terms of a contract of employment to that effect.

The expense and uncertainty generated by litigation was a poor substitute for statutory clarity, which the SAJER Act has delivered.