Daily Bulletin

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Employsure’s founder and managing director, Ed Mallett has welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement that the government will take a fresh look at Australia’s workplace relations system.

“The federal government’s intention to review the workplace relations system is encouraging for the 24,000 small businesses we represent across Australia,” Mr Mallett said.

“The overwhelming view among our small business clients is the legislation is far too complicated, particularly for those with less than 20 employees and no expert HR or legal departments.”

Based on a small business survey commissioned by Employsure in November 2018, almost 85 percent of small business respondents say regulatory compliance is a general factor that makes growing their business more challenging.

Further, 68 per cent said workplace laws are poorly explained by regulators and 74 per cent believe they are poorly communicated. Results also showed, almost 60 percent (58%) believe that workplace laws are not equitable to both employers and employers.

To address these concerns, Mr Mallett says, “small businesses would like to see workplace relations red tape cut and employment laws simplified.”

“We have already identified a number of simple steps to tackle the overly complex industrial relations system for small businesses that would make a real difference to the sector.

“A key priority should be a review of the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code, to ensure there are adequate provisions to protect small business employers from an unfair dismissal claim when they have made every effort to do the right thing.

“The current protections in place are a decade old this July, and the nature of the work has evolved. The review of rules governing dismissals need urgent review.

According to Mr Mallett, a new, separate jurisdiction in the Fair Work Act could be introduced to “offer provisions and greater protections for small businesses.”

“If this and other recommendations are implemented, it will level the playing field for small business who want to do the right thing and empower the Fair Work Ombudsman to deal with businesses that deliberately fail to meet their obligations.

“We agree with the Prime Minister’s view that any changes in this area must be evidence-based, protect the rights and entitlements of workers and have clear gains for the economy and for working Australians.

“A clear and simple workplace relations system would be more user-friendly and give small business the boost in confidence they need to hire workers, remain in business, and boost the Australian economy.   

“We look forward to advocating for fairer, more equitable workplaces on behalf of the 24,000 small businesses in our network,” he said.
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