Staff on AWAs can go to church: Hockey

Workplace Relations Minister Joe Hockey says casual workers who sign Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs) are entitled to refuse shifts so they can attend religious services.

Graham Guy, a western Sydney-based pastor and member of the Hillsong church, said a call centre withdrew an offer to him of a casual job after he refused to sign an AWA which required him to be on call seven days a week, Fairfax reported.

Mr Guy had been available to work every day of the week except Sunday, Fairfax said.

Mr Hockey on Friday said workers had the right to refuse shifts, even if they signed AWAs which said they would be available to work seven days a week.

He attacked union officials for criticising the AWA.

"It's quite normal for casual agreements to have all-encompassing hours to cover the hours the business operates," Mr Hockey said in a statement.

"However, employees do have the reasonable right to refuse shifts and (have) protection from discrimination.

"The union and Labor Party must start checking their facts. Australian Workplace Agreements are subject to the same anti-discrimination regulations and laws as any other agreement."