Jobs stay, but costs up under new IR laws: ACCI survey

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Jobs stay, but costs up under new IR laws: ACCI survey

A survey of employers shows more than one-half think the Federal Government’s new IR laws would have no impact, or a positive impact, on their maintaining current employee levels — but 60% say their costs will increase.

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A survey of employers shows more than one-half think the Federal Government’s new IR laws would have no impact, or a positive impact, on their maintaining current employee levels — but 60% say their costs will increase.
 
The survey, by the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), shows that 46.9% believe the Fair Work laws would have a negative impact on the capacity of their business to maintain current levels of employment.
 
However, a total of 50.6 % said there will be no impact, while 1.9% said there will be a positive impact.
 
Regarding the ongoing costs of doing business, 59.3% said they would rise, 39.5% said there would be no impact, and no employers said costs would decrease.
 
Unfair dismissals will impact
 
Asked what impact the removal of the small business exemption from unfair dismissal claims will have on their willingness to take on new employees, 54% said it would be negative, 30.1% said there would be no impact and 11% said it would be positive.
 
These findings were contained in the first results of ACCI's Survey of Investor Confidence conducted in the first week of March 2009.
 
Peter Anderson, ACCI chief executive, said the finding that almost one-half of the employers believed the IR changes would make it more difficult to retain existing employs make today's negotiations in the Senate on the final shape of the Fair Work Bill ‘absolutely crucial to jobs, especially in small and medium business’.
 
‘It adds weight to the position adopted by the Coalition, Senator Xenophon and Senator Fielding that there is a direct link between jobs and the reintroduction of unfair dismissal laws, and that changes in this area need to be made to accommodate long-held small business concerns,’ Anderson said.
 
Need to moderate laws
 
‘There has been a strong case for moderating the government's industrial relations changes for some time, especially since the economic downturn hit our shores.'
 
‘This latest survey evidence is a reminder that there are very serious and practical impacts to jobs flowing from the decisions the Senate makes about the shape of our employment laws.’
 
Anderson said the eyes of the employer community, especially small and medium businesses, are right on the Senate today.
 
‘In the past, the Senate has required governments to make significant changes to major industrial relations laws, and moderation of the Fair Work Bill should be no exception,’ he said.
 
More information is available on the ACCI website.
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