WorkChoices red tape will ‘wipe out’ compo cuts

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WorkChoices red tape will ‘wipe out’ compo cuts

Yesterday’s 5% cut in WorkCover premium reduction for NSW businesses would be wiped out by the cost of new WorkChoices red tape which begins next week, NSW Minister for Industrial Relations, John Della Bosca, claimed today.

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Yesterday’s 5% cut in WorkCover premium reduction for NSW businesses would be wiped out by the cost of new WorkChoices red tape which begins next week, NSW Minister for Industrial Relations, John Della Bosca, claimed today.

Della Bosca said the reduction, which amounts to an annual $115 million saving for businesses across the State, would be negated by the cost of complying with new WorkChoices record-keeping requirements which begin on 27 March.

‘Based on a new study by Harmers Workplace Lawyers, it is estimated complying with WorkChoices will cost small businesses across NSW about $316 million when new record-keeping requirements begin,’ Della Bosca said.

He said only unincorporated businesses, such as some small businesses, partnerships and sole traders, will be spared this burden as they are still protected by the NSW industrial relations system.

Employers confused

‘Employer groups have said their members remain unprepared for the new obligations, with most confused about who is covered and how,’ Della Bosca said.

‘Despite these concerns, the federal Office of Workplace Services (OWS) has flagged “zero tolerance” for breaches of the new rules, threatening fines of up to $2750 per offence,’ Della Bosca claimed.

However in a statement on 8 March, OWS director Nicholas Wilson said cases of employers failing to keep any employment records or to issue employees with pay slips will be taken very seriously by the office, ‘particularly where evidence suggests the intention was to avoid paying employee entitlements’.

No penalty for ‘minor errors’

‘First-time or minor errors in meeting the requirements will be unlikely to attract a penalty,” he said.

Della Bosca said new red tape under WorkChoices includes:

  • Calculating nominal daily hours for full-time and part-time employees
  • Recording all variations to nominal hours
  • Providing a pay slip within one day of the date of payment

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