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The Australian Hotels Association (AHA) said the Government’s proposed industrial relations reforms are pragmatic and would clear up uncertainty, decrease red tape and provide more flexibility to employees and employers.

AHA CEO Stephen Ferguson said the introduction of a statutory definition of a casual employee in the Omnibus Bill will bring much-needed certainty to the notion of casual employment in Australia in the wake of the controversial Workpac v Rossato Federal Court decision.

“The Bill also protects employers by allowing them to offset casual loadings that have already been paid – no one should be paid twice for the same thing,” Mr Ferguson said.

“This is a common sense remedy to deal with the potential exposure to double-dipping claims that have arisen from the Federal Court’s ruling.”

“The right of an employee to convert from casual employment to permanent employment after 12 months if they have worked a regular pattern of hours already exists in the Hospitality Award, providing the conversion was reasonable on business grounds.”

“Whilst conversion from casual to permanent employment would result in the loss of a 25% casual loading, that was balanced by employees having a reliable pay cheque plus annual and sick leave – the choice is for the employee to make.”

“The AHA also supports the continuation of flexibility that enables employers to give directions to change work location of duties of employees.”

“The hospitality and accommodation industries are still affected by a range of direct and indirect COVID-19 related trading restrictions.”

“We are not out of the woods with the COVID-19 pandemic yet and this flexibility will help employers protect employees from underemployment.”

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