Casuals need to keep working while injured or ill
The Sector > Workforce > Advocacy > Casuals keep working while injured or ill due to absence of paid leave, ACTU finds

Casuals keep working while injured or ill due to absence of paid leave, ACTU finds

by Freya Lucas

January 31, 2024

Casual workers in the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector are continuing to work while ill or injured due to the absence of paid leave, according to new data from the ACTU’s Work Shouldn’t Hurt (WSH) Survey.


The survey looked at the experiences of fixed-term and independent contractors, casuals, and gig platform workers in a number of sectors and industries, finding that while 18 percent of injured workers in secure jobs reported being unable to take time off due to lack of paid leave, in comparison, this jumped to half of all workers in insecure work.


“No one should have to go to work when injured or ill simply because their job lacks the most basic of protections. Under the current law, if you’re a casual or gig worker and are injured or ill you’re forced to make the difficult decision of either taking time off with zero pay or going to work and likely worsening your condition,” ACTU Assistant Secretary Liam O’Brien said. 


People in insecure work are also more likely to experience physical injuries than those in secure employment, with seven percent of secure workers reporting a physical injury compared to 11 percent of insecure workers. Mental injuries for those in insecure work also rose from 13 percent in 2021 to 20 percent in 2023.


The data comes as Parliament is set to debate the remaining parts of the Closing Loopholes Bill next month, which would close loopholes that big businesses exploit to reduce the pay and conditions of working people in casual work.


“Parliament has the power to help these vulnerable workers by passing the remaining parts of the Closing Loopholes Bill, which guarantees these workers basic rights that other workers are entitled to,” Mr O’Brien added.


The full survey results will be available in February, preliminary results are available here

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