Call to delay FWA penalties until employers understand new system

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Call to delay FWA penalties until employers understand new system

An employer organisation has called for penalties under the new Fair Work IR system to be delayed because employers are unprepared for the changes.

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An employer organisation has called for penalties under the new Fair Work IR system to be delayed because employers are unprepared for the changes.
 
The WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (WA CCI) claims some firms are shocked to find their costs had jumped tens of thousands of dollars overnight under the new modern awards.
 
Biggest shake-up in history
 
WA CCI workplace relations policy director Marcia Kuhne said the changes heralded the biggest shake-up to the award system in history, but many businesses had little idea how it affected them.
 
She called on the Federal Government to give funds to employer groups such as the CCI so they could run education programs and said the introduction of $66,000 penalties for breaches should be delayed until after adequate awareness campaigns.
 
Under the new system the number of awards will be cut from 4000 to 122 and, in most cases, any pay rises will be phased in over five years — commencing 1 July 2010.
 
‘Shocked’ — laundry allowances
 
Kuhne said one small business was shocked to discover that from 1 January 2010 it would be forced to pay staff an extra $18,000 in laundry allowances.
 
She said some businesses had been stunned to find out they would come under a new award after calling CCI on an unrelated industrial matter.
 
Kuhne said WA CCI has had a five-fold increase in industrial inquiries. Inquiries had almost doubled compared with March and April in 2006 when WorkChoices was introduced.
 
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