Businesses struggling to understand the Fair Work Act

FWO back pay awards

The latest Employsure Workplace Index research shows that only one of three employers are confident that they are compliant with the Fair Work Act. The research also revealed that 20 per cent admit they have little to no knowledge about the Act.

Employsure’s Managing Director, Ed Mallett, said, “We receive over 600 calls a day from employers confused by what they are required to do to meet the requirements of the Fair Work Act, leaving themselves exposed to penalties, fines, and serious legal costs.

We found 86 per cent of small businesses don’t fully understand their obligations as an employer under Fair Work, so it’s not surprising that employers lose 60% of unfair dismissal cases. They are exposing their businesses to financial risk.”

One business owner, Kieron Prenter of Mexicano Bar and Restaurant, shared his sentiment, “Why should I be made to walk on eggshells in my own business? I want to be able to employ good staff, treat them well, and provide a good service.With so much red tape, it feels like I’m set up for failure. Laws need to be reformed and should be simplified so employers like myself, wanting to do the right thing, can understand what we’re required to do.”

The Employsure Workplace Index further revealed one in four employers find it difficult to calculate the correct pay, entitlements, and interpret the Modern Awards for their business. In addition, only 10 per cent of managers are confident they understand the Fair Work Act.

Prenter said that trying to keep up with wage changes, sick leave, pay slips, health and safety compliance and everything else could quickly take half of his time away from actually running his business.

Prenter also shared the concern that small-business employers don’t know where to go to find help, with the research revealing that over a third admit they rely on Google for information on managing their Fair Work obligations.

“I would like to see the government support small business in more ways. We need a supporting hand when managing staff; especially in situations where staff can deliberately sabotage and take advantage of the system,” Prenter said.

“We speak to small-business owners like Kieron everyday who would like to see the government get serious about supporting their business and simplifying the Fair Work Act,” Mallett concluded.