Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten needs to overrule his party’s Senate motion to reverse double pay obligations for casual workers or risk crippling Western Australia’s small and family businesses. 

This issue is a critical test of how Federal Labor will treat small businesses if elected in May. 

Last year, the Federal Court (WorkPac v Skene) ruled that casual workers were entitled to annual leave and other entitlements, despite being paid casual leave loadings – effectively forcing employers to pay casual workers entitlements twice. 

The Federal Government recognised the disastrous impact this would have on small and family businesses and introduced regulation to ensure small businesses would not go under and to protect the jobs of those working for them. 

Bill Shorten needs to step in to stop the Labor Party reversing this regulation or risk the viability of small businesses, which employed more than 490,000 West Australians last year. These are jobs that will be put at risk if this motion is backed by the Senate. 

To force small and family businesses to fork out back pay, potentially dating back six years, when they have already paid a loading to the employees could not just cripple these businesses but close them for good. This will only exacerbate WA’s high unemployment problem which remains the highest in the country. 

At CCI, we are proud that 90 per cent of our members are small businesses, because we recognise the significant contribution they make to our State and our country. 

Federal Labor claims to support small business but this motion is in clear conflict with that pledge. CCI urges Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and the Senate to reject this damaging attack on small business.