September 1, 2019
The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman released proposed changes to the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code in early August.
In short, these changes seek to make dismissing employees both clearer and fairer to the employer and employee.
Employsure is supportive of the ASBFEO’s initiative. As the representative of over 21,000 clients in Australia, we know all too well how difficult and delicate it is for business to go through the unfortunate process of dismissing an employee.
“There has been a growing need to reform the Code. Employing new employees is not in itself a difficult process, however if the employment relationship breaks down it can become a complex nightmare for a small business – best described as industrial divorce,” says Employsure’s founder and Managing Director, Ed Mallett.
In fact, the process of dismissal is so difficult that even large companies with dedicated HR teams fall foul of the Fair Work Commission.
“Employers are telling us how overwhelming it is to understand what the correct process is for terminating employment in a fair way, in line with the Fair Work Act. What could seem straightforward often lies in the grey area, further highlighting the complexities of the Act,” Mallett says.
“The changes to the Code proposed by Ms Carnell would provide clarity and fairness to the dismissal process for both employers and employees.”
“One of the key aspects of the changes proposed by Ms Carnell is the need for small business employers to know how to follow a fair process when terminating an employee’s employment. Employers require clearer guidelines on what is required to carry out a legal dismissal.”
Compounding the issue for small businesses – who rarely have the time or the money to be away from work – is the ease in which unfair dismissal claims can be lodged at the Fair Work Commission.
“With options available to employees like unions, and advocacy groups, and particularly with the rise of no-win-no-fee lawyers, it’s no surprise the employer success rate in unfair dismissal cases are dipping. Lodging an unfair dismissal claim is about as easy as ordering an Uber,” Mallett says.
On top of this, Employsure is also proud to announce a partnership with the Small Business Association of Australia.
Employsure and the SBAA are joining forces to propose the need for the simplification of Australia’s workplace system for small businesses.
In a legal submission letter, to be sent to relevant Government Ministers, Mallet advocates for two key areas of reform – jurisdictional objections and unfair dismissal disparity.
Simply put, Employsure and the SBAA are arguing that the Commission be given the power to screen unfair dismissal claims before moving onto a conciliation stage, saving small businesses the time, effort and cost associated with attending a conciliation.
In addition, the second reform sought by is for “the Fair Work Commission taking on a more active role in pointing out clear weaknesses of an applicant’s case which may encourage such applicants to discontinue speculative claims” to balance an unbalanced Unfair Dismissal system where employees can lodge a claim for as little as $73.20 – which is waived in cases of financial hardship.
The Small Business Fair Dismissal Code is in desperate need of reform. And with eight years of experience helping SMEs navigate the complex Fair Work Act, we should know.
Employsure is excited to be your small business advocate.
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