A good start but job not done: Fair Work should be much fairer to small businesses

30 Jul 2018 |

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry welcomes the Fair Work Commission’s commitment to better support small business but wants more to be done to make the Fair Work system fairer for small businesses.

“We welcome the President’s efforts to help small businesses navigate the unfair dismissal process and early and more personal contact with the Commission” Australian Chamber CEO, James Pearson, said today, commenting on the launch of “What’s Next: the Fair Work Commission’s plan to improve access and reduce complexity for our users.”

“But more, much more, needs to be done.

“Australia’s workplace relations laws (the Fair Work Act) assume all employers are large, sophisticated, well-resourced and unionised.

“This is simply not the case for most Australian businesses.

“Almost 60% of small business owners are paid $50,000 or less, well below the average of what Australians earn.

“Changing processes, information and administration at the Fair Work Commission can only fix part of the problem.

“There is more that should be done:

  • Laws need to change:
    – The Fair Work Act needs to be simpler; and better balance the interests of smaller employers and their employees;
    – There needs to be clearer, more appropriate options for small businesses.
    – The reason for dismissing an employee, not whether the exact process was followed, should matter most
  • Liabilities need to change:
    – Compensation and awards should better reflect the capacities of smaller businesses, which have far more in common with lower paid employees than major corporations.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities. They provide jobs, opportunities, goods, and services that Australians need. They deserve to be treated fairly too.”

Duncan Bremner

Director - Public Affairs and Advocacy

P  |  0448 822 666

E  |  [email protected]

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