Small Businesses Want Simpler Fair Work Act

Small and medium businesses find the current Fair Work Act too complicated, according to a survey by cloud accounting provider MYOB. Here are the details.

Small business owner image from Shutterstock

MYOB surveyed over 500 SMBs and the majority of want the Government to reduce the complexity of the Fair Work Act. Currently, the Act requires small businesses to:

  • Meet minimum employment conditions including the National Employment Standards (NES) and modern awards
  • Comply with unfair and unlawful dismissal laws
  • Respect workplace rights specified in the Fair Work Act

What SMBs are most concerned about when it comes to the Fair Work Act is the number of different modern awards that exist to stipulate specific employment conditions. There are currently over 122 awards.

“SME operators want to do the right thing by their people, but keeping track of all the details across multiple awards can be tough. From speaking to our clients, we know it can be a real barrier to hiring new staff,” MYOB CEO Tim Reed said. “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.”

The survey also found that SMBs are opposed to the Federal Government’s proposal to increase the GST rate from 10 per cent to 15 per cent. Fifty-two per cent of SMEs were against it and 35 per cent expressed concern that customers would spend less as a result of it.

“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 Reed said. “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 SMEs spend on average collecting tax for the Australian Government will free them up to grow their businesses and be more successful.”

Do you agree with this sentiment? Let us know in the comments.

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