If you can’t answer these questions, you need help

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If you can’t answer these questions, you need help

Do you know the answer to these questions? (If not, you may need help in coping with the new Fair Work Australia workplace relations system, which begins on 1 January 2010.)

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Do you know the answer to these questions? (If not, you may need help in coping with the new Fair Work Australia workplace relations system, which begins on 1 January 2010.)
  • Do you know which Award your business is currently covered by and which Modern Award will apply after 1 January?
  • Are arrangements in place so that the business will comply with the National Employment Standards when they come into force on 1 January?
  • Are you keeping the required records and giving employees pay slips?
  • Are you aware of your options for making an Enterprise Agreement with employees?
  • Do you understand how to bargain in good faith if you want to make an Enterprise Agreement with employees?
  • Do you understand, and are you able to comply with, the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code if terminating an employee’s employment?
 
Don’t wait till the last minute
 
The Fair Work Ombudsman has urged small employers who do not answer yes to the above questions not to wait until the last minute to familiarise themselves with the changes.
 
Ombudsman Nicholas Wilsons said that from 1 January next year, small business will operate under the Federal Government’s new safety net of minimum employment conditions.
 
Wilson said employers who couldn’t answer yes to the questions should seek assistance, and said his Agency has a team of 200 highly-skilled advisers manning the phones from 8 am to 6 pm weekdays ready to help small business people with questions.
 
‘We encourage small business to act now to find out about and prepare for the changes on January 1, and we can assist,’ he said.
 
Guide for small business
 
Wilson suggested a good first point of call for small business is Best Practice Guide — Small Business & the Fair Work Act, which is available from the Fair Work website.
 
The guide explains the safety net of minimum employment conditions, the obligation to bargain in good faith at the enterprise level, obligations to keep records and provide payslips, unfair dismissal laws and protections for employees and obligations of employers.
 
‘How to’
 
The Fair Work Ombudsman has also prepared ‘how to’ guidance for small business to assist them safely navigate workplace matters such as:
  • workplace bargaining for enterprise agreements
  • using individual flexibility agreements
  • implementing better family-friendly practices
  • dispute resolution
  • managing underperformance.
 
Further materials are available on employing young workers, gender pay equity, consultation in the workplace and workplace privacy.
 
The 1 January 2010 changes follow the commencement of the Fair Work Act 2009 on 1 July this year, which requires small business to comply with new unfair and unlawful dismissal laws, agreement-making obligations, transfer of business rules and workplace rights.
 
Help
 
Employers seeking help can phone 13 13 94. And, for English translation, phone 13 14 50.
 
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