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Businesses unprepared for new Fair Work legal obligations

One in four Australian SME business leaders say they are not well-informed or adequately prepared for the Federal Government’s new Fair Work industrial relations laws.

Fair Work AustraliaOf the 246 business leaders surveyed as part of a snap member poll conducted by leading CEO membership organisation The Executive Connection (TEC), a quarter (25.2 percent) said they were ill-prepared for the new laws, which came into effect on January 1, 2010.

The new system, which includes the introduction of a streamlined set of awards called the National Employment Standards (NES), was introduced to replace the previous government’s WorkChoices scheme.

But TEC CEO Chris Gorman said a general lack of awareness within the business community could end up costing Australia’s economy and recommended business leaders refocus some of their time and resources to understanding the implications on their business.

“The fact such a high proportion of Australian SME leaders remain in the dark about the new industrial relations laws poses a significant threat, not only to individual businesses, but to Australia’s productivity,” Mr Gorman said.

“Without sufficient knowledge or preparation, Australian SMEs could find themselves exposed to unnecessary administrative complications and increased litigation – both of which are costly and have the potential to cripple business.

Mr Gorman said it was important for SME owners to use the services and information sources available to become better informed and armed with the necessary tools needed to ensure their businesses continued to prosper.

“Small and Medium businesses are the foundation of the Australian economy and play a critical part in driving the nation’s growth.

“As the economy begins to pick up again, it is all the more important that any changes to industrial relations laws are communicated actively and effectively.”

Mr Gorman said information about the new industrial relations laws was available on the Federal Government Fair Work website, www.fairwork.gov.au, and urged all business leaders to familiarise themselves with the changes.

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David Olsen

David Olsen

An undercover economist and a not so undercover geek. Politics, business and psychology nerd and anti-bandwagon jumper. Can be found on Twitter: <a href="http://www.twitter.com/DDsD">David Olsen - DDsD</a>

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