6359.0 - Forms of Employment, Australia, November 2011 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/04/2012   
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This article discusses the extent of casual employment and the conditions under which casual employees work. While the number of casuals (those without either paid sick and paid holiday leave) is generally increasing over time, it is not at an equivalent rate to the entire workforce, resulting recently in a small fall in the proportion of the labour force employed on a casual basis. In addition, the rights and entitlements of these casuals today are similar to previous years.

Graph Image for Employment comparison between casuals and all employed persons

The number of employed persons has continued to increase in the workforce in comparison with those deemed to be casuals (employees without paid leave entitlements).

Generally, the number of casuals in the workforce is increasing, however it is increasing at a rate lower than that of all employed persons. In 1998, there were 8.3 million employed persons of whom the number of casuals was 1.5 million (18% of all employed persons). The proportion of casuals reached a peak of 21% of all employed persons (2.2 million casuals and 10.4 million employed persons) in 2007, and now sits at 19% of all employed persons (2.2 million casuals and 11.4 million employed persons) in 2011.

Graph Image for Proportion of males and females who are casuals, 1998 to 2011

The proportion of casual females decreased from 61% in 1998 to 55% in 2011, while the proportion of casual males increased from 39% in 1998 to 45% in 2011. Since 2006 the proportions have remained steady.

Graph Image for Continuous duration with current employer or business

The proportion of casual employees working for 1-2 years with their employer has generally remained at the same level, 28% in 2006 and 28% in 2011, likewise for those employed for 3-5 years, 15% in 2006 and 16% in 2011. The proportion of casual employees working for their employer for less than 12 months has had more variability. This was 46% in 2006 and then generally declined to 41% in 2009 before reaching 43% in 2011.

The following points illustrate that there have been only slight changes in entitlements for casual workers since 2006.
  • In 2004, 88% of employees without leave entitlements considered their job to be casual. In 2008 and again in 2011, the proportion of employees without leave entitlements who considered their job to be casual was still 88%.
  • In 2006, 7% of casuals had a set completion date or end to their job. In 2008, this was 6% and was again 7% of casuals in 2011. Of these casuals, 63% worked on a fixed-term contract in 2006, 57% in 2008 and 63% in 2011.
  • In 2008, 53% of casuals had earnings that varied from one period to the next. This has remained unchanged since and is again 53% in 2011.
  • In 2008, there were 26% of casuals who were required to be on call or standby in their job. In 2011, there were 28% of casuals in the category.
  • In 2008, 62% of casual employees usually worked the same number of hours each week. In 2010, there were 59% of casuals who usually worked the same number of hours each week and in 2011, the porportion was again 62% of casuals.
  • The proportion of casuals who only work on weekdays only was 51% in 2011. In 2008, this was 50%. Those only working on weekends in 2011 was 6% and in 2008 was also 6%.

Data from the Working Time Arrangements, Australia, November 2009 (cat. no. 6342.0) indicate that for casual employees:
  • In 2003, 66% of casual employees could choose when to take holidays. In 2006 this was 64% and in 2009 this was again 66%.
  • In 2006, 33% of casuals has some say in their start and finish times, compared with 35% in 2009.

More information on Forms of Employment can be found in the Summary of Findings and the following tables.