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ACTU push for workplace laws to be fast-tracked

Bianca De Marchi/AAP PHOTOS

Unions are urging the government to fast-track its workplace laws, saying a delay will cost gig-economy workers millions in pay.

The ACTU says workers on platforms such as Uber and Menulog are likely to miss out on $110 million in wages from a three-month delay in legislating the workplace changes.

While debate is set to resume on the workplace laws in federal parliament on Thursday, it will be at least February before the legislation passes.

The workplace laws will provide additional protections for gig-economy workers, as well as making it easier for casual employees to transition to permanent employment.

ACTU secretary Sally McManus says the workplace laws need to be passed without delay.

"Every day that goes by costs gig workers money they cannot afford to be without," she said.

"This legislation will give many gig workers a much-needed boost in their pockets and the safety they need on the roads."

Analysis by the union body showed the workplace laws would boost the rate of pay for workers by $95 a week.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures shows 135,000 people work for gig economy platforms.

Non-controversial elements of the workplace bills were carved out of the broader laws by the Senate in a bid to fast track some measures.

The upper house vote separated out measures such as protections for domestic violence and for emergency workers with post-traumatic stress to try and have them in place by the start of the year.

The Senate on Thursday agreed to send the four pieces of legislation to the lower house for consideration after a push by David Pocock.

"It seems to me that politics is largely about negotiation and compromise and it seems like that has been done in the Senate," he said.

The government was dealt a blow after the upper house in September voted to send its legislation to an inquiry due to report back in February.