Small businesses still struggling with compliance

The recent release of figures from the Fair Work Ombudsman and Fair Work Commission are a sign that Australia’s small businesses are caught in a web of complexity, according to workplace relations company, Employsure.

The annual reports from both the Fair Work Ombudsman and Fair Work Commission show that fundamental obligations such as wage rates, pay slips and record keeping are still a common problem for business owners.

Key figures from the Fair Work Ombudsman Annual Report include the fact that:

  • More than $40 million recovered for 18,000 underpaid employees.
  • More than $4.4 million secured in court-ordered penalties.
  • $479,900 in on-the-spot fines issued for pay slip and record-keeping breaches.
  • More than 2800 workplace audits conducted.

Meanwhile, figures from the Fair Work Commission Annual Report include:

  • 13,928 Unfair Dismissal Claims lodged.
  • 10,974 decisions and orders published.
  • 11,702 hearings and conferences.

Managing Director of Employsure, Ed Mallett, said that the figures paint a picture of a sector struggling to meet its obligations.

“It would be wrong to assume that all of these businesses are rogue operators. Also caught up in these figures will be small business owners who are trying their best in a very difficult system,” Mallett said.

“Employsure Advisers take thousands of calls each year from small-business owners needing help. Wage rates and entitlements are always high on the list of issues they’re struggling with.

“Of course, we want a system that eradicates systemic workplace relations breaches. But we also need a system that adequately supports small business owners and limits unnecessary complexity. We hope that the Government’s Workplace Relations System Review will address some of the issues that are making it near-impossible for the small-business community to successfully navigate Australia’s workplace relations system.”

Mallett concluded, “In particular we’d like to see reforms that limit vexatious unfair dismissal claims, while reducing the amount of red tape that prohibits small-business growth.”