Australia’s workforce is always changing and adapting, and these changes often affect small businesses significantly. Australia has one of the highest casual employment rates in the OECD, but this is gradually starting to change, with many workers seeking permanent positions. This change is one that needs to be managed and understood by small businesses, so that they can adapt to the changing times and also ensure that their staff remain happy and productive.
Employees often prefer permanent work to casual work, as it allows them greater security and stability. Trade unions in particular are one of the change agents in the work force, arguing that casual employment can be disadvantageous to employees and that permanent work is preferable.
With this trend on the rise in the workforce, small businesses need to be aware of how this transition can impact them, in case their own employees seek permanent employment. This includes financial and organisational considerations that will influence the operation of small businesses.
The shift from casual to permanent work will influence small businesses financially, and this is a shift that small businesses must be ready to accommodate. Permanent workers, of course, receive much more entitlements than casual workers. This includes sick leave, paid annual leave, overtime rates and the accrual of long-service leave. Providing this may seem costly at first, but considering the amount saved on casual loading, particularly on Sundays and public holidays, small businesses will be able to accommodate these expenses. Businesses can also negate further expenses by improving there rostering practices. This can be done by:
- Rostering some part-time workers on weekends, thereby avoiding the heavy casual loading rates on Sundays.
- Hire casual workers to cover the night-time or public holiday shifts, depending on the nature of the small business.
- Employ a staff rostering system such as Ento to more easily manage or scale the business
While the benefits for employees of this casual to permanent shift are well-known, the advantages for small businesses are not talked about as much. Small businesses will be able to enjoy greater stability and security themselves, as they will not have a constant stream of casual workers joining and then leaving the business. Casual workers are not required to give notice before leaving a job, which can cause stress and chaos for small business owners.
By having more dedicated, committed and long-term staff on a permanent basis, small businesses will achieve greater stability and are also likely to improve their workplace environment, as this regularity will ensure a greater bond amongst the team. Small businesses will also be able to invest their time in training their permanent staff very thoroughly over a long period of time, resulting in a higher service quality for their business.
Small businesses may sometimes struggle to keep up with the myriad of changes in the work force, and the desire of some to shift from casual to permanent work is one such change that needs to be managed. Small businesses must be aware of the ways in which this can influence their business, and how best they can use this change to the benefit of their business as well as the job satisfaction of their employees. They must also remember the value of those who want to remain as casual staff, as these individuals can often fill short-term vacancies and work flexible hours, such as night time or public holiday shifts. Additionally, they are often people who are in need of this sort of flexible, immediate work, such as students or new migrants. By being able to successfully manage both casual staff and permanent staff, small businesses will ensure they remain relevant in the market.