Casual labour


22 Nov 2017

To investigate the prevalence of overwork and unpaid overtime, the Centre for Future Work commissioned a survey of over 1400 Australians on the incidence of overwork and Australian attitudes toward it. The results are surprising.

Highlights include:

There is...

Research report

21 Nov 2017

The National Temporary Migrant Work Survey is the most comprehensive study of wage theft and working conditions among international students, backpackers and other temporary migrants in Australia. The survey draws on responses from 4,322 temporary migrants across 107 nationalities of every region in the world,...


10 Oct 2017

A Senate committee has finally handed down a report on the Fair Work Commission’s decision to reduce Sunday penalty rates for workers in a range of service industries.

The report recommends that the government bring in legislation to overturn the decision, citing mixed evidence...


4 Oct 2017

On 19 June 2017, the Senate referred the following matter to the Education and Employment References Committee for inquiry and report by 16 October 2017:

(a) claims that many employees working for large employers receive lower penalty rates under their enterprise agreements on weekends...


21 Aug 2017

The informal work practices of the so-called “gig” economy are widening existing cracks in Australia’s system of labour regulations, and should be repaired through active measures to strengthen labour standards in digital businesses. That is the conclusion of newly-published research from a special symposium on...


10 Jul 2017

Penalty rates have been a fixture of Australian industrial relations regimes since the late 1800s. With federation, a series of decisions by various state and federal wage-setting bodies began, culminating in the first ‘national’ penalty rate decision in 1947.

These early decisions indicate that...

Research report

2 May 2017

Australians continue to debate the Fair Work Commission’s recent decision to reduce Sunday and holiday penalty rates for retail and hospitality workers. This report investigates the prevalence of weekend work in other sectors of Australia’s economy - and confirms the overall economic importance of extra...



24 Feb 2017

NOTHING is more central to Labor’s view of what makes Australia such a great place to live in than our long tradition of having an independent umpire to stop employers exploiting workers. Former Liberal prime minister Sir Robert Menzies shared that view; like others in...

Briefing paper

23 Feb 2017

Section 156 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) provides that the Commission must conduct a four yearly review of modern awards (the Review). The Commission’s task in the Review is to decide whether a particular modern award achieves the modern awards objective....

Research report

27 Oct 2016

The Inquiry has recommended that a licensing scheme be set up to regulate labour hire operators. The report also called on the Victorian Government to advocate for a national licensing scheme for labour hire operators, through the Council of Australian Governments.

The Victorian Government...

Briefing paper

26 Oct 2016

This In Brief highlights local ni-Vanuatu support structures initiated through workers’ participation in Australia’s Seasonal Worker Program (SWP) and New Zealand’s Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme (RSE). It draws on recent interviews with workers, families, recruiters, leaders, chiefs and a support group in Vanuatu. In May...

Research report

20 Jan 2015

The casualisation of the Australian workforce proceeded at a more or less steady pace from 1992 to 2004.


There is no formal definition of casual employment in the sense that it has a meaning set down in law or specified in...

Research report

16 May 2012

The last two decades in Australia has seen a dramatic decline in permanent work, and corresponding growth of insecure forms of employment, such as casual, contract work and labour hire. The full extent and impact of this shift on workers, their families and the Australian...

Research report

18 Aug 2004

Casual employment is often assumed to be a more 'efficient' way of engaging labour, and can deliver short run gains. But better deployment of labour undermines its longer term development. John Buchanan suggests how deployment and development can be improved simultaneously.

Research report

24 May 2004

In 2003, over a quarter of all wage and salary earners were employed on a casual basis, and in the period since 1988 more than half of all new jobs created have gone to casual workers. Casual workers today are drawn from a wide cross-section...

Conference paper

10 Feb 2004

Barbara Pocock, John Buchanan and Iain Campbell examine policy options to contain the expansion of casual work in Australia. The first part of the paper briefly summarises the evidence on casual work and why it is a problem in Australia. The second part looks at...