The unprecedented economic fluctuations resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and double-dip recession have imposed enormous costs on the millions of Australians who work in non-standard, insecure jobs. They face particularly uncertain employment prospects, due to the lack of job security and stability in hours. Most are also denied basic employment protections and entitlements – most dangerously, amidst a pandemic, they do not get paid time off in event of illness or exposure to COVID-19.
New data confirms that workers in casual and other insecure jobs have borne a vastly disproportionate share of job losses during both waves of COVID-19 lockdowns.
- Casual and part-time workers accounted for over half of all job losses in the first lockdowns in 2020, and an even larger share in the later wave in 2021.
- Casual workers were 8 times more likely to lose work in the 2021 lockdowns than permanent staff. Part-time workers were 4.5 times more likely to lose work than full-timers.
- The short-lived recovery in employment between May 2020 and May 2021 confirms that employers are determined to re-establish insecure work as a dominant practice once the pandemic ends. Casual jobs accounted for over half of all jobs created during that 12-month temporary recovery, and part-time jobs accounted for almost 60%.
- Women experience higher rates of casual and insecure employment than men – and hence the overuse of casual employment exacerbates gender economic inequality.