IR changes 'reasonable and necessary' say employers

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IR changes 'reasonable and necessary' say employers

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the change in definition of small business in the amended Fair Work Bill is reasonable and necessary, and should be accepted as a sensible compromise by the government.

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The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) said the change in definition of small business in the amended Fair Work Bill is reasonable and necessary, and should be accepted as a sensible compromise by the government.
 
Backed by the Coalition, the independent Senators changed the cut-off point for unfair dismissal claims from fewer than 15 to 20 or fewer full-time equivalent positions.
 
As this story is being published, there is talk of further possible compromises on the actual number between the government and the independent Senators.
 
No access otherwise
 
ACCI chief executive Peter Anderson said the change is reasonable because many genuinely small businesses would not otherwise be able to access the special small business unfair dismissal rules.
 
'Small business employees would still have unfair dismissal rights after 12 months of work, within the framework of the Government's Code,' he said.
 
'The change is necessary because the employment mix in small business has changed over the years, and past unfair dismissal laws dented the confidence of small businesses to employ permanent staff.'
 
Business confidence crucial to jobs
 
'Especially now, business confidence is crucial to jobs, and small business is the jobs' engine of the economy.'
 
'Even with this change, the government would be securing its new industrial relations system, with 99% of the details as the government originally proposed, and in a Bill which still would contain unresolved issues of concern to industry.'
 
Anderson said that if the government does not accept the Bill as amended by the Senate, it will provide some breathing space for industry to maintain dialogue with the government and the Senate parties on the unfair dismissal code, and on other areas of the Bill where employers continue to seek moderation in the interests of fairness and jobs.
 
The amendments were also welcomed by the Council of Small Business of Australia (COSBOA).
 
Employee rights still protected
 
CEO Jaye Radisich congratulated Senators Xenophon and Fielding for acting responsibly in relation to the Fair Work Bill, and helping to pass the vast majority of the Government's key workplace relations legislation.
 
'Under the Xenophon amendment passed by the Senate, employees' rights remain protected and small businesses will have more confidence to be able to hire people at a time when the country's economic future is uncertain,' Radisich said.
 
'The calculation of full-time equivalent staff will only need to be undertaken if a small business concludes an employment arrangement with an employee in circumstances that could be construed as unfair,' Radisich said.
 
'If small businesses apply the new, simple and clear checklist that the government has developed, the number of cases where unfair dismissal occurs should be minimal. The new small business dismissal code will help employers to act in accordance with the law.'
 
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