Australia Institute research shows pandemic is hitting insecure workforces

Casual and part-time workers have suffered the most significant job losses during the Delta outbreak. Picture: Marina Neil
Casual and part-time workers have suffered the most significant job losses during the Delta outbreak. Picture: Marina Neil

Casual and part-time workers have suffered the most significant job josses during the Delta outbreak, according to new analysis from The Australia Institute.

The research showed casual workers were eight times more likely wind up unemployed compared to permanent staff, with 70 per cent of all jobs lost since May coming from either casual or part-time contracts.

The Australia Institute also flagged women and younger workers in the hospitality and accommodation sector were disproportionately affected from job shedding during the period.

Australia Institute director Jim Stanford said part-time and casual have been the "shock troops" of the labour market during the pandemic.

"The long-term and multi-faceted expansion of insecure work, in all its forms, is ripping apart economic and social stability in Australia," Dr Stanford said.

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"It is bad enough that workers in these jobs do not receive basic entitlements like paid sick leave or severance protections. But even when they are working, they are paid far less than other workers."

Australia's unemployment rate in August dipped to 4.5 per cent, reflecting large falls in participation and people exiting the workforce while lockdowns plague the south east of the country.

The institute claims casual workers on average are paid less than their permanent counterparts.

Dr Stanford said changes to employment law that allow workers to opt in for permanent part-time would not change the level of job insecurity within the labour market.

"Recent changes in labour law, which confirm the right of employers to use casual labour in any position, even stable long-term roles, will lead to further expansion of insecure work once the pandemic is over," he said.

"New pathways for workers to convert to permanent status have numerous limitations and exemptions, and will not significantly affect growing job insecurity."

This story Casual and part-time workers bearing brunt from pandemic first appeared on The Canberra Times.