Work and Workers

A secure job with decent working conditions is a fundamental right for everyone and the means to build a better life for oneself and one’s family. In recent decades returns to capital have increased while returns to workers for their labour have stalled. Standing with workers enables individuals and the country to prosper and is the means by which we enable social mobility.

Work and Workers
March 27, 2024

A Thousand Hours for Free? Ending Unpaid Placements in Social Work Education

There is a growing body of research highlighting the issues students face in completing degrees in social work. The requirement to undertake 1000 hours of unpaid field education – equivalent to six months’ full time work – is contributing to a low completion rate despite the demand for social workers increasing.
Work and Workers
October 26, 2023

Submission to the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Closing Loopholes) Inquiry

Key to the Fair Work Act was the inclusion of a fair and comprehensive safety net: a set of minimum employment conditions which cannot be stripped away. Today, too many workers find themselves excluded from this safety net, falling through loopholes in our workplace laws.
Work and Workers
September 18, 2023

Cracks in the Foundation: Exploring barriers to successful sectoral programs for young workers

The IT industry says yes to sector programs to solve its skills shortages and give young people a go at better quality jobs
Work and Workers
July 27, 2023

Towards Fairness and Security: Reforming Casual Employment in Australia

Casual employment is meant to be about irregularity, or the absence of a firm advance commitment of continued work. Instead, the real characteristics of casual employment are: low pay, low power, low safety and low security.
Work and Workers
May 26, 2023

Response to the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations Measures

This submission covers employee-like reforms; casual workers; criminalising wage theft; stronger protections for workers against discrimination, adverse action, and harassment; and the 'Same Job Same Pay' legislation.
Work and Workers
April 29, 2023

Submission to the Workforce Australia Inquiry

The employment services system is failing. Privatisation, announced with much fanfare 25 years ago, has not delivered on its promises, and substantial change is urgently needed.
Work and Workers
April 27, 2023

Submission to the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Protecting Worker Entitlements) Bill 2022

We acknowledge that the Bill is the next step in building a fairer more securing workplace relations system, after years of neglect, and look forward to making further submissions relating to governments agenda of closing the loopholes some businesses use to undercut worker security.
Work and Workers
April 21, 2023

Sharing the Spoils: A Gender Lens Analysis of the Four Day Week Trial at Our Community

In recent years, calls for shorter working ours without a reduction in pay, in terms of a four-day week (4DW), have become increasingly prominent around the developed world.
Work and Workers
December 19, 2022

Submission to the Workforce Australia Inquiry: Pre-Employment Programs and ParentsNext

This submission focuses on pre-employment programs, and specifically examines the role of ParentsNext in providing early intervention services to disadvantaged parents as part of the employment services system.
Homepage Feature
December 15, 2022

Full Employment in 21st Century Australia: a lode star policy in an age of uncertainty

A submission to the Employment White Paper Consultation
Homepage Feature
November 11, 2022

Submission to the Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill

Per Capita has considered the Bill and is supportive of its aims. Our submission focusses on supported bargaining, single interest employer authorisations and cooperative workplaces. It also addresses some recent criticisms of the Bill.
Homepage Feature
September 30, 2022

Submission to the Senate Select Committee Inquiry into Work and Care

Consideration of how we might better balance the demands of paid labour with the needs of our families and loved ones is fundamental to creating a more equitable and just society.
Homepage Feature
September 13, 2022

Submission to the FWA (Equal Pay For Equal Work) Bill

Per Capita has considered the EPEW Bill and finds its scope woefully inadequate to address the problem it seeks to tackle: to ‘stop the exploitation and limit the use of labour hire contracts by removing the incentive for employers to do so, which is lower wages’.
Homepage Feature
September 13, 2022

Upskilling and Expanding the Australian Cyber Security Workforce

Australia is experiencing a critical skills shortage across the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector, but the most significant skills shortage appears to be in the increasingly important Cyber Security sector.
Work and Workers
August 30, 2022

Submission to the Inquiry into Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave

Per Capita has considered the Bill and is supportive of its aims.
Work and Workers
August 24, 2022

A Blueprint for Better, Cleaner Jobs

The political, ecological and economic challenge of decarbonising Australia’s energy and industrial base is crying out for leadership. The next five to ten years are crucial to ensure that the worst outcomes of the climate crisis are mitigated, and we have a unique opportunity to reframe our economy in the interests of the people who work within it.
Work and Workers
August 22, 2022

Submission to the Inquiry into the Jobs and Skills Australia Bill

This submission supports the proposed Bill as crucial and necessary legislative reforms that build towards a Full Employment economy, and highlights the challenges of skills mismatch and underutilisation, and the importance of funding for vocational education and training.
Work and Workers
June 29, 2022

Contracting Care: The rise and risks of digital contractor work in the NDIS

This report examines the implications of digital contractor marketplaces on NDIS participants, NDIS workers and the market for care and support as a whole.
Gender Equality
November 30, 2021

Submission to the Review of the Workplace Gender Equality Act

Per Capita welcomes the opportunity to contribute this submission to the Review of the Workplace Gender Equality Act, 2012 (the Act), which sets the scope of work for the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA). The Act has not been reviewed since its introduction in 2012, and the public’s understanding of the gender pay gap, and ... Read more
Work and Workers
May 25, 2021

Just Reward: The Case for a Wage Rise After COVID-19

This report outlines the case for a significant increase in the minimum wage, which will flow through to higher take-home pay for the more than 2 million Australian workers who rely on award wages.
Work and Workers
February 12, 2021

Briefing note: the Fair Work Amendment Bill 2021

The provisions of this Bill would not only fail to solve the problems it claims to address, but would actively entrench job insecurity and low wage growth for millions of working Australians.
Progressive Economics
December 3, 2020

We’ve Got Your Back: Building a Framework that Protects us from Precarity

The social guarantee is a means of acknowledging and addressing the reality of manufactured precarity.
Work and Workers
October 27, 2020

Per Capita Submission to the Inquiry into the JobMaker Hiring Credit Bill 2020

The $4 billion JobMaker Hiring Credit Scheme (the Scheme) is an example of the lack of vision and ambition for Australia’s future that characterized the budget as a whole. While apparently focused on the laudable goal of restoring employment to young workers who have been particularly hard hit by job and income losses in 2020, its design means that it almost certainly will not encourage the necessary corrections to the labour market that are needed to reverse the decline in job security and living standards that have plagued young Australians for more than a decade, and is in fact likely to entrench and exacerbate them.
Work and Workers
October 23, 2020

Per Capita Submission to the Inquiry into the Continuation of Cashless Welfare Bill 2020

Based on the evidence we have analysed we can only conclude that this bill will exacerbate inequality and act as a means of further marginalising people who are already experiencing social exclusion.
Work and Workers
October 15, 2020

Austerity or Prosperity? Policy options for resilience and recovery

In this discussion paper for Together Queensland, we look at some mechanisms for improving the equity and efficiency of stimulus spending.
Work and Workers
October 5, 2020

The Case for a Care-Led Recovery

This paper argues for a significant government investment in the care economy, to create jobs for women, to improve the pay and conditions of essential care workers already in the system, and to improve the quality, affordability and accessibility of care for all Australians.
Work and Workers
September 25, 2020

At What Cost? Getting Back to Jobactive

This is the third paper in Per Capita’s series examining the operation and effectiveness of Australia’s employment services system, known as jobactive, in the context of the profound labour market disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gender Equality
August 31, 2020

The ‘Herstory’ of Superannuation

This report looks at the history of superannuation for Australian women, marks its progress towards equity, and identifies what more could to be done to improve the system in order to mitigate women’s vulnerability to poverty in retirement.
Work and Workers
July 31, 2020

PostBank: Filling a Void, Securing Essential Services

This discussion paper makes the case for the creation of a public bank in Australia by providing Australia Post with an Authorised Deposit-taking Institution (ADI) licence, and moving in time to establishing PostBank as a full national savings and loan bank.
Work and Workers
July 6, 2020

The Future of Australia Post

Australia Post is a treasured national institution, essential to Australia’s prosperity and security. Its future must be safeguarded and strengthened in the interests of all Australians.
Work and Workers
June 22, 2020

Mutual Obligation After COVID-19: The Work for the Dole Time Bomb

In this discussion paper we argue that we cannot return to the system of mutual obligation that was in place before the lockdown. The current mutual obligation framework is inflexible and ineffective: a return to this system would impose strict job search requirements that are unreasonable in a labour market where competition for jobs will be fierce.
Work and Workers
June 18, 2020

Coming of Age in a Crisis: Young Workers, COVID-19, and the Youth Guarantee

This report looks at the state of youth unemployment and underutilisation in Australia both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, and forecasts a likely trajectory for youth unemployment in the months and years ahead.
Work and Workers
May 21, 2020

Slack in the System: The Economic Cost of Underemployment

This new discussion paper estimates the economic cost of underemployment in Australia, both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Work and Workers
April 27, 2020

Redesigning Employment Services after COVID-19

This discussion paper recommends that the government undertake a consultation to gather views on the options to adapt employment services to meet the needs of the post COVID-19 unemployment scenario.
Work and Workers
April 8, 2020

Per Capita Submission to the Inquiry into the Unlawful Underpayment of Employees’ Remuneration

We argue that the government must take wage theft seriously, and that a strong interventionist approach must be taken to ensure the security of work for an entire generation of Australians.
Progressive Economics
February 5, 2020

The Super Freeze: What You’ve Lost

This report, and the accompanying calculator, allows individual workers to assess what the impact of the delay in increasing the SG rate to 12% has been, on both their wages and their super savings, over the last five years and, therefore, is likely to be over the next five.
Work and Workers
October 1, 2019

Per Capita Submission to the Inquiry into the Adequacy of Newstart and Related Payments

The income support payments to the unemployed, such as Newstart and related payments, are inadequate and do not allow people to maintain an acceptable standard of living.
Work and Workers
September 20, 2019

Per Capita Submission to the Inquiry into Jobs for the Future in Regional Areas

Our unique country, with a vast land mass and low population density, requires unique regional development solutions.
Progressive Economics
May 9, 2019

Meet The Taxpayers: Comparing Labor and the Coalition’s Tax Platforms

The competing tax policies of the Coalition and Labor Parties at the 2019 federal election present voters with the starkest choice on offer for decades. For the first time in a long time, the decision the Australian people make on 18 May will result in markedly different economic outcomes for the country in the decade ahead.
Progressive Economics
April 23, 2019

“Flexible Ongoing” Employment: solving a problem that doesn’t exist

This paper outlines the context within which the flexible ongoing proposal arose, the WorkPac vs. Skene decision. It examines the nature of casual work in Australia and provides an analysis of how the proposed flexible ongoing category would affect workers in Australia.
April 2, 2019

Per Capita’s 2019 Fantasy Budget

Every year, progressive think tank Per Capita releases its fantasy budget: a set of budget priorities that, if implemented, would progress Australia towards a more equal society. Here are our budget priorities this year.
Progressive Economics
March 22, 2019

Analysis: ALP and LNP jobactive reforms

Since we published Working It Out: Employment Services in Australia last year, both the Government and the Opposition have announced packages of reforms to Jobactive. In this follow-up report, we compare the platforms to each other and analyse them against the recommendations we made in Working It Out.
Progressive Economics
March 7, 2019

Per Capita Tax Survey 2019

Per Capita is proud to release its 2019 Tax Survey, now in its ninth year. We all pay tax, but this is the only comprehensive, regular survey of Australians’ attitudes to taxation and public spending. It provides information about how we’re thinking now, and how our attitudes to tax and public spending are changing and evolving.
Progressive Economics
October 5, 2018

Evidence Based Policy Analysis

This report addresses the problem that policymaking in Australia is falling short of best practice. Policies are often built “on the run” as quick reactions to the political issue of the day, designed to capture the interest of the 24-hour news cycle or motivated by short-term political advantage. This can result in failed policy implementation and poor results for citizens, politicians, and society at large, especially when it undermines public confidence in policymaking.
Progressive Economics
September 19, 2018

Working It Out: Employment Services in Australia

The purpose of this report is to critically examine the current mainstream employment services system, jobactive, and assess the experience of unemployed workers with the system against its stated objectives and promised services. A key aim of the research is to bring the voices of unemployed workers in Australia into the public conversation about employment services and about unemployment more broadly.
Progressive Economics
March 29, 2018

Senate Inquiry into the Future of Work and Workers

On Tuesday 13 March, Per Capita's Executive Director, Emma Dawson, and Research Fellow, Tim Lyons, testified before the Senate Select Committee inquiring into the future of work and workers in Melbourne.
Work and Workers
March 8, 2018

Organising Ourselves: Rebuilding Australian Unions

In a new discussion paper, Per Capita Research Fellow Tim Lyons seeks to address how unionism might undergo the sort of transformative change necessary not just to survive but to build the new organisations we need for workers to win.
Work and Workers
March 2, 2018

Government Outsourcing and the Australian Public Service

Last week, Per Capita made a submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Australian Government Contract Reporting - Inquiry based on Auditor-General's report No. 19 (2017-18).
Work and Workers
February 28, 2018

The Future of the Fair Go: Securing Shared Prosperity for Australian Workers

The government must intervene to secure the hard-fought-for right of Australian workers to receive a living wage in return for their labour.
Work and Workers
February 2, 2018

Is Work In Australia Working?

A new discussion paper by Per Capita Research Fellow Tim Lyons, prepared for last year's Per Capita Progressive Economics Roundtable, argues that the regulations and institutions governing work in Australia are in urgent need of repair.
July 18, 2017

What’s Age Got To Do With It? Towards a New Advocacy on Ageing and Work

Australia, along with the other developed economies, is grappling with the implications of an ageing population. Concerns about increasing welfare costs and shortfalls of labour supply have brought with them calls to prolong working lives. However, current public policy is inadequate if the nation wishes to make the best use of its ageing workforce.
Work and Workers
May 12, 2017

Unemployment Policy in Australia: A Brief History

Maintaining full employment in Australia was once considered a top priority of state and federal governments. Keeping unemployment low was seen as a collective responsibility. In this report, Warwick Smith looks at the shifts in unemployment policy in Australia in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Work and Workers
December 13, 2016

The Productivity Commission’s Inquiry: Australia’s Future Prosperity

We believe that a combined and integrated focus on productivity, inequality and sustainability is essential to ensure sustained high quality of life for the Australian population. Per Capita endorses the broad scope of this review, in particular the inclusion of non-market areas, domestic productivity and inequality.
Work and Workers
March 4, 2016

The Urge to Merge

Consolidation via absorptions and amalgamations has been a common response to situations of crisis for unions across the developed world.
Work and Workers
December 11, 2015

The Victorian Government Inquiry into the Labour Hire Industry & Insecure Work

While much public debate (and attention of policy makers) is devoted to the quantity of jobs available in our economy, this inquiry brings a welcome focus on the quality of jobs available to Victorians.
Work and Workers
December 4, 2015

Per Capita Submission to the Willing to Work Inquiry

4 December 2015: Per Capita's submission to the National Inquiry into Employment Discrimination against Older Australians and Australians with Disability.
Work and Workers
August 6, 2015

Briefing Note: The Productivity Commission Draft Report on Workplace Relations

6 August 2015: Tim Lyons looks at the Productivity Commissions' Draft Report on Workplace Relations.
Work and Workers
March 13, 2015

Per Capita Submission to the Review of the Workplace Relations Framework

13 March 2015: Per Capita's Submission to the Productivity Commission's Workplace Relations Review
July 21, 2013

Training Days: Models of Vocational Training Provision: Lessons from the Victorian Experience

Per Capita evaluates the experience of contestability in vocational training in Victoria. By David Hetherington.
Progressive Economics
June 24, 2009

Employee Share Ownership and the Progressive Economic Agenda

June 2009: This report argues that share schemes should seek to incentivise investment in employee-owned companies. By David Hetherington.
Work and Workers
June 21, 2008

Quality of Work and a New Politics of the Quality of Life

The goal of this short paper is to explain why labour parties must rethink their approach to the place that work has in all our lives - and in a wider progressive narrative. By David Coats.
Work and Workers
June 21, 2008

Union Futures: Why progressives should care about the future of labour

This paper makes two arguments; first, that progressive parties cannot afford to be neutral about the role of organised labour and second, that a determined effort must be made to improve workplace employment relations, by encouraging effective employer-union co-operation. By David Coats.
Work and Workers
May 24, 2008

Unlocking the Value of a Job: Market Design in Employment Services

This paper argues that a job's value exceeds its nominal wage, and includes health, justice system and intergenerational benefits. Critically, this value is shared between worker, employer and the community. By David Hetherington.