SMEs call for a fair go on Fair Work reform

Fair Work reform

SMEs want to do the right thing but are worried about getting it wrong under the Fair Work Act’s complex system.

Almost two in three SMEs support a simpler Fair Work Act, according to the latest MYOB SME Snapshot survey. The monthly survey by cloud-accounting provider, MYOB, quizzed more than 500 of their SME clients around issues currently affecting the SME space.

MYOB CEO Tim Reed said that with 122 Federal awards, the Fair Work Act is unnecessarily complicated.

‘SME operators want to do the right thing by their people, but keeping track of all the details across multiple awards can be tough,’ Reed said.

‘From speaking to our clients, we know it can be a real barrier to hiring new staff,’ he added. ‘SMEs want to do the right thing but are worried about getting it wrong under a complex system. We’re all for Government moving ahead on a simpler Fair Work Act, and it’s great to see this on the agenda of new Small Business Ombudsman, Kate Carnell.’

This month’s SME Snapshot also asked SMEs about the recent debate around increasing the GST rate to 15%. Over half – 52% – of those SMEs gave the proposal the thumbs down, with 35% concerned customers would spend less as a result.

‘Reforming GST would have provided the opportunity to make GST much simpler for small businesses – the productivity benefits could have been massive. With the Prime Minister now taking a GST change off the cards, we’d encourage Government to now take some simple steps to reduce the GST compliance burden on small business,’ said Mr Reed.

‘In an environment that’s all about boosting productivity and innovation, reducing the $13.7 billion that SMEs spend complying with GST and giving them back the 84 hours a year that they spend on average collecting tax for the Australian Government will free them up to grow their businesses and be more successful.’

The SME Snapshot also asked businesses where they would like to focus or invest more this year. Training and development was the number one area of focus for SMEs, with 39% of respondents nominating this area, while 38% said that new technology was also key.

‘Online marketing – 23%, new software – 18%, and new staff – 18% – rounded out the top five.

‘People and systems are the hot ticket items in 2016. This will be great news for the Turnbull Government as they pursue their ideas boom – we just hope they help SMEs become the engines of innovation by continuing to slash red tape,’ Reed concluded.