Anthony Albanese proposes portable leave entitlements for insecure workers in major policy speech

Labor-portable-leave

Leader of the Opposition Anthony Albanese in the House of Representatives. Source: AAP/Mick Tsikas.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese will today reveal part of Labor’s policy plan for the upcoming federal election, including a proposal to give workers in insecure jobs the ability to transfer their entitlements from one role to another.

In a speech to be delivered on Wednesday, Albanese will promise workers in insecure jobs, including labour-hire employees and gig economy workers, a “better deal”, with a suite of workplace law reforms related to leave entitlements, minimum wages and caps on fixed-term contracts.

Albanese says the pandemic has laid bare the rising levels of job insecurity across the workforce, which he believes is due to the inability of workplace laws to address the growth of the gig economy.

Labor will propose to establish transferable leave entitlements, a cap on rolling fixed-term contracts, and a requirement for labour-hire workers to receive the same pay as their full-time co-workers.

Transferable leave entitlements would allow workers to take accrued annual, sick and long service leave from one job to another.

Portable long-service leave is not a new concept and already exists in some industries, including cleaning, construction and community services.

Labor is also proposing a two-year cap on fixed-term contacts meaning that employers must offer a full- or part-time roles to employees after they have worked two years on a fixed-term contract or held two consecutive contracts.

To improve job security, Albanese will seek to amend the Fair Work Act to ensure job security is considered when a pay deal is registered or changes are sought to the award safety net.

The announcement of Labor’s proposals on insecure employment comes amid debate over the Morrison government’s industrial relations omnibus bill which Labor has vowed to oppose.

Labor is firmly against sections of the bill that would see the better off overall test suspended for COVID-19 affected businesses when striking two-year workplace agreements.

Albanese’s speech will be delivered in Brisbane today and position the party as on the side of workers ahead of the upcoming election which The Sydney Morning Herald reports could be held as soon as October this year.

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