The Fair Work Act, introduced last week is yet another challenge for us to deal with and promises to change the way we work and pave the way for a fairer and more balanced work ethic between employer and employee. I am always the first to stand up and support any Act that improves work relations, however, being a small business owner, I do have some grave concerns.
The new regulations have come at a difficult time when small business is particularly focused on staying afloat and trying to keep their staff employed – let alone anything else. In a period when flexibility is key to surviving in this market, the new Act instills tight regulations that increase the pressure on us, as business owners and takes away the nimble aspects of the previous Workplace Relations Act.
It is worrying that the Fair Work Act could have an adverse effect on small business and their opportunities to do business with flexibility, as this could be detrimental to businesses.
Reflecting the concern from COSBOA, I feel the Fair Work Education and Information program should have been implemented earlier to allow us to be fully prepared for what are significant changes. Julia Gillard, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations only announced the new program a day before the Fair Work Act came in to force. Small businesses do not have resources, including in-house lawyers or human resource departments, to help us navigate major workplace relations programs. It is another distraction and as a small business owner something else that I have to find out about and prepare for.
The reality for me and many others is that we just don’t have the time. This new program should have been discussed and implemented months ago so all businesses were prepared for the new legislation.
Top tip: Seek out a good business advisor you can call on to help you with your industrial know-how so that you are not left open to disputes.