Submission to the Independent Inquiry on Insecure Work held by the ACTU (Jan 2012)
The St Vincent de Paul Society would like to take this opportunity to highlight the complex interactions between the welfare system and insecure work. While we are aware of the diversity of job insecurity, our focus in this submission is on low paying and part‐time, casual, irregular, or temporary work. For many people in insecure, low paying jobs, the dance between welfare and work is an ongoing part of their lives. There are a number of interactions between the welfare system and insecure employment that are likely to exacerbate the negative effects of both unemployment and job insecurity‐ financial instability and lack of financial resilience, poor mental and physical health outcomes, relationship stress, housing insecurity and social exclusion.
The negative effects of insecure employment have the potential to create or entrench significant longer term barriers to finding stable employment. It is widely accepted that employment is a determinant of health and well being. However, certain kinds of employment (work that is unsafe, with little autonomy and lacks flexibility and employee control) are related to poor health outcomes.
In the context of the aging population and the issue of labour underutilisation, protecting the health of workers and potential workers will be a crucial factor in ensuring a sustainable workforce. The fact that certain kinds of work make people sick has significant social policy implications.