‘Raise small business cap to 20 workers’ say motel operators

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‘Raise small business cap to 20 workers’ say motel operators

The accommodation industry has called for the employee ceiling defining small business to be raised from 15 employees to 20.

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The accommodation industry has called for the employee ceiling defining small business to be raised from 15 employees to 20, thereby exempting more employers from unfair dismissal applications.

It also wants changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 relating to how working hours are averaged, and relief from penalty rates for small motel and hotel operators

In its submission to the Fair Work Act review, Accommodation Association of Australia’s CEO Richard Munro said the industry had areas of concern with the Act.

‘At present, a business that employs fewer than 15 staff is defined as a small business and is therefore protected from unfair dismissal provisions,’ Munro said.

Fluctuations
 
‘Given the accommodation industry relies on a large pool of casual employees to meet high staffing fluctuations, this places many of our small accommodation operators outside the definition of a small business employer.’

‘Therefore, the Accommodation Association recommends that a small business should be redefined as one which has a full-time equivalent of 20 employees or less.’

Munro said it is vital that the Fair Work Act recognises the operators of accommodation businesses require more flexibility for their workers due to the seasonal nature of the accommodation industry, which results in high workloads during peak periods.

Average over 52 weeks
 
‘In our submission, we recommend that the Act be amended to allow the averaging of hours over a 52-week period, rather than over 26 weeks,’ he said.

Munro said that for accommodation businesses — the vast majority of which operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week — penalty rates are holding them back.

‘Staff are an important resource which is why businesses in the accommodation industry are conscious of ensuring fair pay for workers,’ Munro said.

‘But current weekend and public holiday penalty rates under the Award are counterproductive for small businesses, especially as the penalties rates apply indiscriminately to both small and larger businesses.’

‘We often see cases where high penalty rates have the adverse effect of reducing trading hours on weekends and public holidays because businesses simply cannot afford to pay staff.’

Munro said the Association recommends that limitations be placed on penalty rate applications in industries where such penalties reduce job opportunities and are counterproductive.
 
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