When Clare Southerton booked tickets to attend a conference in Rome as part of her work as a sociologist at the Australian National University, she paid her own way in order to further her career.
If she was a permanent staff member, she'd be able to apply to university schemes to fund the travel that's an important part of sharing her research. Not having access to funding in order to present research is just one of the many hidden costs of increasing levels of casualisation, especially in the tertiary education sector, Dr Southerton said.
Even though she's been employed in various roles at the university as a research assistant, and in professional and administrative roles for seven years, Dr Southerton hasn't had a permanent contract, with the longest period of certainty just five months in that time.
"It limits the ability you can plan for the future," she said.
"One thing we know from casual employees is they really worry about things like maternity leave, you can't take maternity leave if you have a child. It's very difficult to get a mortgage, it's difficult even to get a rental property because people see you as not a desirable candidate to get a rental property."
Job insecurity and casualisation of the workforce was a major theme at Tuesday's Change the Rules rally, part of the Australian Council of Trade Unions' 12 day push to draw attention to workplace issues such as secure work and pay rates.
About 200 people attended the rally, which marched from the corner of Childers Street and University Avenue to the Fair Work Commission on University Avenue.
Dr Southerton said casual workers don't feel like they are part of the workplace community as they are often not invited to staff meetings, and face financial pressure when they don't get paid over non-teaching periods like the Christmas break.
"We really need to think about what kind of jobs are appropriate to be casualised," she said.
"Particularly things like teaching, it's not appropriate for that kind of work to be casualised. We are on call for students all the time and that kind of work is not able to be properly remunerated in a casual way."
Unions ACT secretary Alex White said “today we will be marching for more secure jobs, fairer pay, a strong independent umpire, and more respect as working people".
“Too many businesses in Canberra are exploiting our broken workplace laws. Tax dodging, wage theft, ignoring workers’ rights have become a business model: Enough is Enough.”
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.