The National Retail Association has welcomed proposed legislation by the Morrison Government to provide greater clarity on casual employment laws and prevent job-destroying backpay claims.

The Bill to be introduced before Federal Parliament this week seeks to provide greater clarity to both workers and employers regarding pay entitlements while also strengthening the job security of casual workers.

NRA Deputy CEO Lindsay Carroll said the NRA had contributed to the Attorney-General’s industrial relations working groups held earlier in the year and advocated strongly for common-sense reforms to allow businesses to more easily offer additional shifts to their permanent staff.

“As retailers across the country battle to bounce back following a recession, the last thing they needed was uncertainty around what constitutes casual employment and the threat of having to make mass back payments that would cripple their business,” Ms Carroll said.

“The legislation proposed by the Morrison Government provides needed clarity and has the full support of the NRA and our nationwide membership.

The proposed amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 will also simplify the laws around part-time employees and provide greater opportunity for these workers to access additional shifts.

“For nearly a decade, retailers have been crying out for a simple way to provide more hours to their permanent staff, instead of having to rely on hiring additional casual employees to fill gaps in the roster,” Ms Carroll said.

“When the NRA was invited to participate in the Morrison Government’s industrial relations working groups, we knew this change would be at the top of retailers’ wish lists heading into the peak trade season and 2021.

“While it is unlikely that the amendments will be passed into law before the end of the year, they are an important first step to simply Australia’s complex and often counterintuitive industrial relations system, which will help create more permanent jobs.”