Article: Job insecurity must be included as a workplace hazard: Report

Employee Relations

Job insecurity must be included as a workplace hazard: Report

The Senate committee in Australia tasked with leading an inquiry into Australia's gig economy recommends the Australian Government to include 'job insecurity' as a workplace hazard in the appropriate laws and regulations.
Job insecurity must be included as a workplace hazard: Report

The job insecurity report prepared by Select Committee on Job Security has highlighted Job insecurity as an economic issue. The committee emphasises that it is not a coincidence that the steep rise in job insecurity has occurred alongside eight years of record-low wage growth. 

The committee recommends Australian Government introduces more laws and guidelines to enable employers to operate on a fair playing field and support workers' psychological safety. 

The report asks to include 'job insecurity' as a workplace hazard in the appropriate laws and regulations. 

"The scope of the job insecurity crisis in Australia is breathtaking. It affects men and women, older and younger workers, migrants and non-migrants, and white- and blue-collar workers alike. There is no segment of the Australian workforce insulated from insecure work," wrote Senator Tony Sheldon, Chair of the Committee.

Understanding the concept and impact of job insecurity

Job insecurity is tied to perennial uncertainty and financial stress, it also presents a real threat to physical and mental health. 

According to studies job insecurity increases the risk of coronary heart disease by 30 percent, and the risk of depression by 60 percent. The Australian Medical Association has identified job insecurity as a stressor associated with a higher risk of coronary heart disease and an increased likelihood of psychological distress and psychiatric morbidity.

Recommendations & Measures to tackle the Job Insecurity Crisis

It is a developing crisis that needs immediate attention. The fact that job insecurity is not just an industrial or workplace issue, but a public health issue needs to be addressed by the government. To proactively tackle the job insecurity crisis, the Senate committee recommends: 

"The committee recommends that the Australian Government reviews the Model WHS Laws and associated Regulations to provide a greater emphasis on supporting workers' psychological safety in the workplace, and include 'job insecurity' as a workplace hazard in the appropriate laws and regulations."

Additionally, it suggests that that the Australian Government provides ongoing support and funding to MATES in Construction, and similar evidence-based, industry-focused suicide prevention and mental health and well-being programs—especially in industries where non-standard work arrangements are common, and those heavily-impacted by the pandemic, like health, aged and disability care, hospitality, retail, the arts and tourism.

Before introducing new measures, the committee also urges the Australian Government to urgently assesses the performance of the Fair Work Amendment (Supporting Australia's Jobs and Economic Recovery) Act 2021.

As per the report, the data collected suggests that the amendment has not had a positive impact on job security, and it should be repealed and replaced with a new statutory definition of casual employment that reflects the true nature of the employment relationship―rather than a definition which relies upon the employer's description of the relationship in an employment contract―and a new casual conversion provision. 

Let's see the government acts on which of these recommendations and revises work policies to improve job security and ensure overall health and happiness quotient of the country. 

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Topics: Employee Relations, Leadership, Corporate Wellness Programs

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