Australian small businesses are being blindsided by important changes to workplaces laws that took effect on January 1, according to an industry expert.
Telstra cloud computing partner, HR and employment relations experts, Workforce Guardian said many businesses were unaware the new rules had drastically reduced the number of small businesses that have some protection from unfair dismissal claims.
Workforce Guardian Managing Director, Adrienne Unkovich, said the changes meant part-time and casual employees were now effectively treated as full-time, regardless of the hours they worked.
“Businesses with fewer than 15 employees are considered to be ‘small businesses’ and have some protection when it comes to unfair dismissal claims as employees must work for at least 12 months before they can take action for unfair dismissal.
“But with part-time and job-sharing workers now considered as one employee in that headcount, the risk of unfair dismissal action suddenly widens, potentially affecting thousands more small businesses.
“Our discussions with business owners indicate many are unaware and unprepared,” Ms Unkovich said.
Telstra Business Executive Director, Ms Cathy Aston, said Telstra recognised IR laws were a complex area for small business which is why it made Workforce Guardian compliance software a key service when it launched its online software ‘supermarket’ , T-Suite.
“Last financial year unfair dismissal actions increased more than 60 percent according to the Fairwork Ombudsman, so it’s important for small businesses to have access to affordable advice.
“Having the service available ‘in the cloud’ means business owners can have their sensitive documentation and employment contracts hosted remotely on a secure server with critical HR policies and procedures always accessible,” Ms Aston said.
Workforce Guardian has scheduled a free educational webinar to help businesses make sense of the unfair dismissal rules.
When: Thursday 24 Feb, 2011
Time: 12:00 PM AEDST
Register now at http://doiop.com/workforce-guardian/unfair-dismissals