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Unpaid leave fair, but what is 'casual'?

The Australian Catholic Commission for Employment Relations has welcomed a recent decision granting a year's unpaid parental leave for casual workers, but has questioned the definition of the classification "casual".

The Australian Industrial Relations Commission ruled that casual workers who have been employed by the same employer for 12 months or more may be eligible for the leave.

Up to 30% of Australian workers are casual, with more than 60% of them employed by the same employer for more than 12 months.

"We believe the outcome is fair and just," the Commission's John Ryan told The Catholic Weekly.

But, while the commission welcomed the decision, it was concerned about the classification of a worker as "casual" if the worker had been employed by the same employer for more than a year.

"I think what it means is that employers need to have a look at how they're engaging people," Mr Ryan said.

"Are they really casual workers or not? That's the core of it."

Catholic Weekly