The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell, recently handed down a comprehensive review into the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code.
As most of you would know only too well, the current Code is complex, onerous and in certain parts is highly ambiguous. This can make it an absolute nightmare for a business to comply with its legal requirements regarding staff.
It is particularly challenging for small business, who don’t have the financial war chest to engage in costly legal action, nor the support structures such as HR departments or in-house lawyers that bigger firms have access to.
The NRA welcomes the report and supports the proposed changes. A more streamlined and easier to understand Code is not about taking rights away from staff, but rather providing clarity to business over their responsibilities. The number of unfair dismissal cases being heard by the Fair Work Commission is sky-high, with around 65 per cent being legally ruled invalid.
There are no winners in these hearings. Both business and the employee making the claim get bogged down in what proves to be a costly and emotionally arduous process.
Perhaps the most significant recommendation is the establishment of a dedicated small business division within the Fair Work Commission. Small business in the engine room of the Australian economy and its vital that the Commission has its finger on the pulse when it comes to the challenges confronting smaller retailers.
The Attorney General Christian Porter, who is the Minister responsible, is about to embark on a consultation process. However, the early sounds from the Minister are heartening and he has acknowledged that the current Code is not working as intended.
We will keep you updated as the consultation process progresses and a copy of the entire report can be found here.
Meanwhile, the NRA has also announced an exciting initiative for South-East Queensland members. We have teamed up with HELP Enterprises to effectively play matchmaker between retailers looking to hire more staff to meet increased demand and jobseekers chasing work.
As part of the partnership arrangement, HELP will thoroughly vet any jobseekers to guarantee that they have the appropriate aptitude and skills. Further information on the program can be found here
All the best for the week ahead!