Unprepared employers fearful of new IR laws

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Unprepared employers fearful of new IR laws

A national survey has shown that most employers are not prepared for the Fair Work Australia (FWA) legislation, and one-quarter are so fearful of the unfair dismissal legislation they will employ fewer staff.

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A national survey has shown that most employers are not prepared for the Fair Work Australia (FWA) legislation, and one-quarter are so fearful of the unfair dismissal legislation they will employ fewer staff.
 
The survey of almost 600 employers conducted by the HR and recruitment firm Drake International shows there will be some ‘unintended consequences’ of the new IR laws.
 
‘This survey shows that many employers are preparing to cut back on recruitment, and even bring forward retrenchments, due to their concerns about new obligations and costs resulting from the legislation,’ said David Edwards, strategic manager of Drake International.
 
Concern about unfair dismissal laws
 
He said the unfair dismissal provisions are causing the greatest concern, with the survey revealing that 25% of employers are expecting to employ fewer staff as a result of the unfair dismissal laws, and another 25% are still undecided about how they will react.
 
The survey showed only 4% of employers had implemented changes to their employment policies in preparation for the Bill, while more than 64% admitted to knowing nothing or only a little about how the new obligations in the Bill would impact them.
 
‘A comprehensive education program is urgently needed by both the government and private sector advisers otherwise, come July, many employers will not be complying with the new IR legislation’, Edwards said.
 
Employ fewer staff
 
He said small businesses with fewer than 15 employees are even more concerned about the Bill, and 41% say they will employ fewer staff.
 
‘Small employers want to avoid new red tape associated with employment, and therefore there is a risk that they will employ less’, Edwards said.
 
‘We expect to see a further swing away from using permanent staff and an increase in temporary staff.’
 
Almost one-half of the employers in the survey had already decided to increase their use of temporary staff or consider the option.
 
Won’t employ staff with young families
 
The survey also revealed other unintended consequences of the Bill. There was strong concern about the flexible hours provisions for parents, with almost 50% of the employers saying they would be less likely to employ staff who have young families.
 
And employers were also worried about the Bill’s redundancy provisions, with 37% considering bringing forward retrenchments to before 1 July.
 
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