Flexible Work for young people

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What is Flexible Work?

Flexible work is pretty much the work that ISN’T full time. This includes part-time, casual, self-employed, and gig work.

Want to know the difference?

part-time work

Regular work that can be either ongoing or fixed term. This work provides access to benefits, such as paid leave and superannuation entitlements, and is aligned to minimum wage standards

casual work

Often shift work that can be changed at the will of the employer, but also the employee. This work provides no guaranteed hours of work or paid leave. However, it does provide access to superannuation entitlements and is aligned to minimum wage standards.

self-employed work

Contract work that can be fixed term or ad-hoc, where a worker effectively acts as a small business. There is no legal obligation for the provision of minimum wage standards, paid leave or superannuation entitlements.

gig work

It is often the type of work that uses digital platforms to match people that need work done with people who want to do that work - for example Uber or Airtasker. This work has no legal obligation for provision of access to minimum wage standards, paid leave or superannuation entitlements for the worker.

Watch the video

Prior to COVID-19, FYA identified eight different ways that young people were engaging in flexible work in Australia. These eight ways took into account:

Choice vs Necessity
Do you want to be working in the job, or do you just need the money?

Primary vs Supplementary income
Is the job your main source of money, or is it an additional source of income?

Career-aligned vs Not
Ae you working in a field you want to be working in for a long time?

Each of the eight carry a number of opportunities, but also a number of risks.

worker type 1

Choice, primary income, not career or lifestyle aligned

This could look like:

  • Biomedicine student who contracts as a waiter for a catering business
  • Contract cleaner who works limited hours to enable time for child-caring responsibilities
  • Landscaper who contracts as an air-conditioning installer for better remuneration

worker type 2

Choice, primary income, career or lifestyle aligned

This could look like:

  • A graphic design student who freelances while studying
  • A graduate who works casually as a facilitator at a youth consultancy, while setting up own business
  • Full-time ride-share partner driver who wants to work within the corporate function of a ride-sharing business

worker type 3

Choice, supplementary income, not career or lifestyle aligned

This could look like:

  • A contract theatre actor who works casually in hospitality for additional income
  • A teacher who works as a contract removalist on weekends

worker type 2

Choice, primary income, career or lifestyle aligned

This could look like:

  • A graphic design student who freelances while studying
  • A graduate who works casually as a facilitator at a youth consultancy, while setting up own business
  • Full-time ride-share partner driver who wants to work within the corporate function of a ride-sharing business
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worker type 4

Choice, supplementary income, career or lifestyle aligned

This could look like:

  • A newspaper part-time photographer who works as a freelance wedding photographer on weekends
  • A cafe chef who works occasional shifts with a catering company

worker type 2

Choice, primary income, career or lifestyle aligned

This could look like:

  • A graphic design student who freelances while studying
  • A graduate who works casually as a facilitator at a youth consultancy, while setting up own business
  • Full-time ride-share partner driver who wants to work within the corporate function of a ride-sharing business

worker type 3

Choice, supplementary income, not career or lifestyle aligned

This could look like:

  • A contract theatre actor who works casually in hospitality for additional income
  • A teacher who works as a contract removalist on weekends

worker type 2

Choice, primary income, career or lifestyle aligned

This could look like:

  • A graphic design student who freelances while studying
  • A graduate who works casually as a facilitator at a youth consultancy, while setting up own business
  • Full-time ride-share partner driver who wants to work within the corporate function of a ride-sharing business
This is some text inside of a div block.

worker type 5

Necessity, primary income, not career or lifestyle aligned

This could look like:

  • A sales manager who works as a casual babysitter due to lack of work in retail
  • A university tutor working as a driver while looking for work

worker type 2

Choice, primary income, career or lifestyle aligned

This could look like:

  • A graphic design student who freelances while studying
  • A graduate who works casually as a facilitator at a youth consultancy, while setting up own business
  • Full-time ride-share partner driver who wants to work within the corporate function of a ride-sharing business

worker type 3

Choice, supplementary income, not career or lifestyle aligned

This could look like:

  • A contract theatre actor who works casually in hospitality for additional income
  • A teacher who works as a contract removalist on weekends

worker type 2

Choice, primary income, career or lifestyle aligned

This could look like:

  • A graphic design student who freelances while studying
  • A graduate who works casually as a facilitator at a youth consultancy, while setting up own business
  • Full-time ride-share partner driver who wants to work within the corporate function of a ride-sharing business
This is some text inside of a div block.

worker type 6

Necessity, primary income,  career or lifestyle aligned

This could look like:

  • A veterinary graduate who works casually as a dog groomer
  • A part-time medical receptionist who is seeking a local full-time nursing job

worker type 2

Choice, primary income, career or lifestyle aligned

This could look like:

  • A graphic design student who freelances while studying
  • A graduate who works casually as a facilitator at a youth consultancy, while setting up own business
  • Full-time ride-share partner driver who wants to work within the corporate function of a ride-sharing business

worker type 3

Choice, supplementary income, not career or lifestyle aligned

This could look like:

  • A contract theatre actor who works casually in hospitality for additional income
  • A teacher who works as a contract removalist on weekends

worker type 2

Choice, primary income, career or lifestyle aligned

This could look like:

  • A graphic design student who freelances while studying
  • A graduate who works casually as a facilitator at a youth consultancy, while setting up own business
  • Full-time ride-share partner driver who wants to work within the corporate function of a ride-sharing business
This is some text inside of a div block.

worker type 7

Necessity, supplementary income, not career or lifestyle aligned

This could look like:

  • Part-time personal trainer who also works casually as an office assistant
  • An office manager who works for a food delivery service on weekends
  • Freelance paralegal researcher who works casually in customer service at a gym

worker type 2

Choice, primary income, career or lifestyle aligned

This could look like:

  • A graphic design student who freelances while studying
  • A graduate who works casually as a facilitator at a youth consultancy, while setting up own business
  • Full-time ride-share partner driver who wants to work within the corporate function of a ride-sharing business

worker type 3

Choice, supplementary income, not career or lifestyle aligned

This could look like:

  • A contract theatre actor who works casually in hospitality for additional income
  • A teacher who works as a contract removalist on weekends

worker type 2

Choice, primary income, career or lifestyle aligned

This could look like:

  • A graphic design student who freelances while studying
  • A graduate who works casually as a facilitator at a youth consultancy, while setting up own business
  • Full-time ride-share partner driver who wants to work within the corporate function of a ride-sharing business
This is some text inside of a div block.

worker type 4

Choice, supplementary income, career or lifestyle aligned

This could look like:

  • A newspaper part-time photographer who works as a freelance wedding photographer on weekends
  • A cafe chef who works occasional shifts with a catering company

worker type 2

Choice, primary income, career or lifestyle aligned

This could look like:

  • A graphic design student who freelances while studying
  • A graduate who works casually as a facilitator at a youth consultancy, while setting up own business
  • Full-time ride-share partner driver who wants to work within the corporate function of a ride-sharing business

worker type 3

Choice, supplementary income, not career or lifestyle aligned

This could look like:

  • A contract theatre actor who works casually in hospitality for additional income
  • A teacher who works as a contract removalist on weekends

worker type 2

Choice, primary income, career or lifestyle aligned

This could look like:

  • A graphic design student who freelances while studying
  • A graduate who works casually as a facilitator at a youth consultancy, while setting up own business
  • Full-time ride-share partner driver who wants to work within the corporate function of a ride-sharing business
This is some text inside of a div block.

worker type 5

Necessity, primary income, not career or lifestyle aligned

This could look like:

  • A sales manager who works as a casual babysitter due to lack of work in retail
  • A university tutor working as a driver while looking for work

worker type 2

Choice, primary income, career or lifestyle aligned

This could look like:

  • A graphic design student who freelances while studying
  • A graduate who works casually as a facilitator at a youth consultancy, while setting up own business
  • Full-time ride-share partner driver who wants to work within the corporate function of a ride-sharing business

worker type 3

Choice, supplementary income, not career or lifestyle aligned

This could look like:

  • A contract theatre actor who works casually in hospitality for additional income
  • A teacher who works as a contract removalist on weekends

worker type 2

Choice, primary income, career or lifestyle aligned

This could look like:

  • A graphic design student who freelances while studying
  • A graduate who works casually as a facilitator at a youth consultancy, while setting up own business
  • Full-time ride-share partner driver who wants to work within the corporate function of a ride-sharing business
This is some text inside of a div block.

worker type 6

Necessity, primary income,  career or lifestyle aligned

This could look like:

  • A veterinary graduate who works casually as a dog groomer
  • A part-time medical receptionist who is seeking a local full-time nursing job

worker type 2

Choice, primary income, career or lifestyle aligned

This could look like:

  • A graphic design student who freelances while studying
  • A graduate who works casually as a facilitator at a youth consultancy, while setting up own business
  • Full-time ride-share partner driver who wants to work within the corporate function of a ride-sharing business

worker type 3

Choice, supplementary income, not career or lifestyle aligned

This could look like:

  • A contract theatre actor who works casually in hospitality for additional income
  • A teacher who works as a contract removalist on weekends

worker type 2

Choice, primary income, career or lifestyle aligned

This could look like:

  • A graphic design student who freelances while studying
  • A graduate who works casually as a facilitator at a youth consultancy, while setting up own business
  • Full-time ride-share partner driver who wants to work within the corporate function of a ride-sharing business
This is some text inside of a div block.

worker type 8

Necessity, supplementary income, career or lifestyle aligned

This could look like:

  • A substitute teacher who works as a tutor after school hours
  • A casual taxi driver works contracts as a courier driver through a service marketplace

worker type 2

Choice, primary income, career or lifestyle aligned

This could look like:

  • A graphic design student who freelances while studying
  • A graduate who works casually as a facilitator at a youth consultancy, while setting up own business
  • Full-time ride-share partner driver who wants to work within the corporate function of a ride-sharing business

worker type 3

Choice, supplementary income, not career or lifestyle aligned

This could look like:

  • A contract theatre actor who works casually in hospitality for additional income
  • A teacher who works as a contract removalist on weekends

worker type 2

Choice, primary income, career or lifestyle aligned

This could look like:

  • A graphic design student who freelances while studying
  • A graduate who works casually as a facilitator at a youth consultancy, while setting up own business
  • Full-time ride-share partner driver who wants to work within the corporate function of a ride-sharing business
This is some text inside of a div block.

worker type 8

Necessity, supplementary income, career or lifestyle aligned

This could look like:

  • A substitute teacher who works as a tutor after school hours
  • A casual taxi driver works contracts as a courier driver through a service marketplace

worker type 2

Choice, primary income, career or lifestyle aligned

This could look like:

  • A graphic design student who freelances while studying
  • A graduate who works casually as a facilitator at a youth consultancy, while setting up own business
  • Full-time ride-share partner driver who wants to work within the corporate function of a ride-sharing business

worker type 3

Choice, supplementary income, not career or lifestyle aligned

This could look like:

  • A contract theatre actor who works casually in hospitality for additional income
  • A teacher who works as a contract removalist on weekends

worker type 2

Choice, primary income, career or lifestyle aligned

This could look like:

  • A graphic design student who freelances while studying
  • A graduate who works casually as a facilitator at a youth consultancy, while setting up own business
  • Full-time ride-share partner driver who wants to work within the corporate function of a ride-sharing business
This is some text inside of a div block.

20%

The number of young people in any form of casual employment was estimated to have increased from 15% of 25 year-olds in 2009 to almost 20% in 2016.

53%

Young people (18-34 years-old) represented 53% of gig workers, compared to 38% of the overall workforce

69%

Almost three quarters (69%) of gig workers on digital platforms had a Bachelor degree or higher

THE GOOD WORK STANDARD

Instead of working 9-5 in one job, young people are expected to have 18 jobs, and 6 careers over the course of their lifetime. Flexible work is ever increasing, with work in the gig economy increasing by 340% over three years. But even though we are working in non-traditional jobs, and workplaces, we still deserve to have access to good work.

What is good work?

To meet the changing requirements of an increasingly flexible workforce we need to lift the basic measures of work with a new approach. 

We propose a Good Work Standard - a pathway to build new partnerships between workers, companies and institutions to redefine good work today.

introducing The
pillars of good work

Our four elements of good work, supported by a number of principles, scale up from essential to preferable. An individual may have different preferences across the Standard according to how they are engaging in flexible work.

Access & Inclusion

Ability to secure work through an equitable approach to hiring/contracting.

Protection against discriminatory practices.

Protection & Wellbeing

Protection against injury or harm.

Access to income security in case of unforeseen events.

Provision of support for personal or community events.

Quality & Control

Fair agreements, contracting and processes for work.

Ability to earn a living wage, access to fair pay and standards for wages.

Access to opportunities for connection through work, representation and advocacy.

Growth & Development

Access to opportunities for progression including ways to build skills and networks.

Recognition of skill development to increase portability of skills across work.

PUTTING IT INTO PRACTICE

It can be difficult to know where to start putting the standard into action, so we’ve detailed a few of the ways the Government and companies can start to explore to ensure all workers have access to good work.

Apply the Good Work Standard to your own workforce by identifying gaps in policies and processes.
Utilise the Good Work Standard as a framework for improving the quality of work for your workforce
Utilise the Good Work Standard as an advocacy tool to influence your industry or company to make change
Investigate industry-wide entitlement schemes, including portability of skills or leave entitlements

Creating Good Workplaces:
Resources to start the conversation

Whether you’re an employer or an employee in a flexible workplace, it’s time to start having a conversation on how to create a good workplace, for all employees. The below questions can be used to start conversations in already existing workplaces, or can be great to pull out at the end of an interview when they say “any other questions?”

On access and inclusion

Is the process of accessing work free from discrimination?

Are there any licensing and certification requirements that are unfair and that limit my access work that I am otherwise qualified to do?

Do you have an inclusive work culture, with positive social aspects?

On Protection and Wellbeing

Do I have access to protections at work from workplace injury or harm?

Do I have financial protection in case of unforeseen income loss due to injury or harm at work?

Do I have the ability to access leave from work (paid or unpaid) in the case of life events (e.g. death of a loved one)?

On Quality and Control

Am I getting paid fairly and in a timely manner?

Do I have the ability to give and receive feedback from the organisation I work with?

Do I have access to representation or an advisory body if I need it?

Is there transparency in decisions made that directly affect me and my work?

Do I have the ability to input into the decision making process?

Do I have the ability to create meaningful connections through work?

On Growth and Development

Do I have access to opportunities for career progression?

Do I have access to development opportunities that improve my skills, capabilities and/or knowledge?

Do I have the opportunity to improve my salary to reflect my growing skills and capabilities?

Download the fact sheet

Fill in the following form to download our Flexible Workforce fact sheets. This is a great resource for sending to your employer that explains a lot of the information on this page. There is also an accessible version available for download upon submitting this form.

The personal information collected in this form will be used to manage your enquiry and future engagements with YLab.  

We will also use this information for the purposes outlined in our privacy policy. Our privacy policy explains how we generally collect, use, store and disclose personal information about you.

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To learn more about Victoria’s Flexible Workforce, check out the full Good Work Standard Website here.

For information on your legal rights and your employer’s obligations check out Fair Work or contact them on 13 13 94. For occupational health and safety rights and obligations check out Safe Work Australia or your relevant state based authority. For information specific to young workers visit Young Workers Centre (VIC).

This project was funded by: