IR bill passes the Senate with major revisions, but measures for casual employment remain intact

Centre Alliance senator Stirling Griff. Source: AAP.

The Morrison government’s heavily amended industrial relations bill has passed the Senate, after key crossbenchers demanded further changes.

The bill, which passed the Senate by 35 votes to 33, only includes new measures for casual employment after the government dropped provisions related to underpayment, award simplification, enterprise bargaining and greenfields agreements.

The government needed Centre Alliance’s Sterling Griff and One Nation to support the bill in order for it to pass.

While One Nation had already struck an agreement with the government to amend certain provisions, Senator Griff said this morning he would not support proposed changes to enterprise bargaining, awards and greenfields agreements.

To secure the bill’s passage, the government withdrew the parts of the bill that Griff opposed, in addition to proposed wage theft laws.

The government kept measures to prevent casual employees from so-called ‘double dipping’, which occurs when casual employees receive a 25% loading while also being eligible for paid leave entitlements.

Under the final version of the industrial relations bill, employers will be required to offer long-term casual staff permanent work after one year or demonstrate why it would not be appropriate.

The government is expected to continue to seek support for parts of the bill that were dropped during the 11th-hour negotiations.

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