Ombudsman welcomes workplace relations system review

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell, has welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement that the Australian government will take a fresh look at reinvigorating the country’s workplace relations system.

“The federal government’s intention to review the workplace relations system is encouraging for the small business sector,” Ms Carnell said. “The overwhelming view among small businesses is the legislation is far too complicated, particularly for those with less than 20 employees and no expert HR or legal departments.”

The ASBFEO has already identified a number of simple steps to tackle the overly complex industrial relations system for small businesses that would make a real difference to the sector.

“A key priority should be a review of the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code, to ensure there are adequate provisions to protect small business employers from an unfair dismissal claim when they have made every effort to do the right thing,” Ms Carnell said.

“We know that the current protections in place are not doing the job that was originally intended. If this and other recommendations are implemented, it will level the playing field for small business who want to do the right thing and empower the Fair Work Ombudsman to deal with businesses that don’t.

The ASBFEO noted that a clear and simple workplace relations system would be more user-friendly and give small business the boost in confidence they need to hire workers.

“We look forward to working closely with Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations Christian Porter on the much-needed simplification of Australia’s workplace relations,” Ms Carnell said.

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