Casuals looking for more job security could be granted permanent contracts under major reforms to employment rules.

In a speech to the Sydney Institute, Employment and Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke will detail the next round of the federal government’s industrial relations reforms.

The reforms would include closing a loophole that allows people who work permanent regular hours to be classified as casuals.

In a pre-emptive strike against business groups likely to oppose the change, Mr Burke will emphasise the change to the test would not be forced on every worker.

Nor will back pay be provided should a casual convert to a permanent position.

“Many casuals won’t want a permanent job. If you’re a student or just working a casual job to make some extra money, this change won’t matter to you,” he will say.

“But there are casual workers who are trying to support households.

“They’re being used as though they’re permanent workers and the employer is double dipping – taking all the advantages of a reliable workforce and not providing any of the job security in return.

“That loophole needs to be closed.”

Labor went to the last election promising to establish a new test on how a casual worker is defined and provide a clearer pathway to permanent work.

Just under three million Australians are employed as casuals. It’s expected the pathway to permanent work would impact more than 850,000 workers.

Mr Burke confirmed the changes on Sunday.

In 2021, the High Court overturned a ruling that long-term casuals working regular rostered hours were owed benefits such as paid leave.

Speaking with Sky News, Mr Burke insisted the reforms would come at “no cost” to the economy.

“What we’re saying is, if you want to apply to switch from being a casual to a permanent because you are working permanent hours anyway, then from the time you change, you no longer get the loading,” he said.

“You just change to being a permanent from then on.”

The test is set to be introduced as part of a broader set of reforms to be introduced to parliament later this year targeting wages and workplace conditions.

It will include the contentious ‘same job, same pay’ reform for labour hire workers, which is already the subject of business and industry group campaign against the laws.

Read related topics:Employment

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By Rahul

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