Small business needs user-friendly awards: chamber

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Small business needs user-friendly awards: chamber

NSW Business Chamber has formally lodged an application with Fair Work Australia to introduce new user-friendly rules in all modern awards for small businesses employing less than five workers.

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NSW Business Chamber has formally lodged an application with Fair Work Australia to introduce new user-friendly rules in all modern awards for small businesses employing less than five workers.

“Australian micro businesses that employ less than five workers struggle the most with the burden of regulatory compliance as they simply don’t have the resources to grapple with the mountains of red tape imposed on them by all three levels of government,” said NSW Business Chamber chief executive Stephen Cartwright.

“Small business owners want to focus their time and energy on growing their business and employing more of their fellow Australians, however many lack confidence in the current modern awards and have difficulty understanding the overly complex language and what it means for their business.

“There are more than 500,000 micro businesses in Australia, and these businesses are vitally important to the nation’s economy, so it is time to re-think our approach to modern awards so that we help rather than hinder growth in this sector.

“We are proposing a simplified, user-friendly set of minimum ‘rules’ for micro businesses that retains the basic features and entitlements of modern awards, but removes the unnecessarily complicated and prescriptive rules that have little or no relevance to micro employers.

“Most importantly, this proposal has been developed in close consultation with micro employers and will promote flexibility and productivity in the small business sector to ensure it continues to drive growth across the national economy.”

Key features


Key features of the Small (Micro) Business Schedule proposed by NSW Business Chamber and Australian Business Industrial include:
  • Applies to any employer, and their employees, when that employer employs four employees or less.
  • Regular, fixed starting and finishing times for permanent employees over a maximum of six days per week, variable by agreement, or by the employer on seven days’ notice.
  • Ordinary hours must not exceed 10 hours on any day or shift except by agreement, in which case the maximum number of hours is 12.
  • Employees must not be required to work for more than five hours without an unpaid break of at least 30 minutes.
  • There will be standardised overtime provisions, with time worked in excess of an average of 38 hours per week by full-time employees to be paid at the rate of 150% for the first three hours, and 200% thereafter. For part-time employees who agree to work extra hours, overtime will not become payable until the part-time employees work in excess of 38 hours per week.
  • All wages will be required to be paid in accordance with the Fair Work Act’s minimum payment period ( ie weekly, fortnightly or monthly).
  • Provision for micro business employers to substitute gazetted public holidays with substitute days, provided employees (or most of the workforce) consent.

The Small (Micro) Business Schedule proposed by NSW Business Chamber and Australian Business Industrial will now be the subject of a review by the Fair Work Commission, which will include a period of public consultation.
 
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