01/07/2009 - 15:10

Rudd sneaks in crucial change to IR laws

01/07/2009 - 15:10

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The Rudd government has sneaked in an eleventh hour change to its unfair dismissal code which will force small busineses to pay 'go-away' money to aggrieved employees, the federal opposition claims.

Rudd sneaks in crucial change to IR laws

The Rudd government has sneaked in an eleventh hour change to its unfair dismissal code which will force small busineses to pay 'go-away' money to aggrieved employees, the federal opposition claims.

Small Business opposition spokesperson Steven Ciobo said a small but critical change to the wording of the dismissal code could be a catalyst for big problems for small business employers.

The change relates to the previously worded "a small business employer may be required to provide evidence of compliance" to "a small business employer will be required to provide evidence of compliance" where an employee makes a claim for unfair dismissal.

"This might seem like a small change, but it's huge in terms of its effect on small business," Mr Ciobo said.

"This is a retrograde step and puts the onus squarely back on small business to prove their case.

He added the change will lead to an "epidemic of 'go-away' money" where employers will simply pay aggrieved employees rather than go through the onerous and expensive process of going through the new system.

"At a time when small business is under cash flow stress, why is the Rudd Labor Government bringing "go-away money" back in vogue?" Mr Ciobo said.

"The real impact on Australian jobs will be known when unemployment figures are released. That will be the single biggest test for the Rudd Labor Government and its new laws."

A spokesperson for the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA told WA Business News the organisation was concerned the change was made without consultation with business and industry.

He added the change will impose additional regulatory burden on business, regardless of size.

"The changes will be damaging for business," the spokesperson said.

The new unfair dismissal laws come into effect today as part of the new Fair Work Australia system, which replaces the Howard government's Work Choices.

 

 

The announcement is below:

 

 

MORE job losses and an explosion in "go-away" money will result from the stealthy change to the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code, Shadow Small Business Minister Steven Ciobo said.

Mr Ciobo said small business has been hammered once again by the Labor Government through a sneaky, 11th-hour change to the terms of its Small Business Fair Dismissal Code.

The wording in the code has mysteriously gone from "a small business employer may be required to provide evidence of compliance" to now become "a small business employer will be required to provide evidence of compliance" with the code, where an employee makes a claim for unfair dismissal.

"This might seem like a small change, but it's huge in terms of its effect on small business," Mr Ciobo said.

"This is a retrograde step and puts the onus squarely back on small business to prove their case.

"As we've witnessed in the past, this will lead to an epidemic of "go-away" money where small business owners will simply throw money at an employee with a dismissal grievance, rather than go through the onerous and expensive process of dragging the matter through the Fair Work Australia.

"At a time when small business is under cash flow stress, why is the Rudd Labor Government bringing "go-away money" back in vogue?"

The latest move further reinforces the Coalition's conviction that the Fair Work Act will destroy jobs and strangle any incentive for the nation's 2.4 million small businesses to hire more staff.

"Labor simply doesn't understand that small businesses don't have the resources of larger businesses - there isn't a human relations manager or a compliance expert. There's typically just a mum or a dad with a mortgage on their house who are being forced to comply with more Labor red tape.

"The real impact on Australian jobs will be known when unemployment figures are released. That will be the single biggest test for the Rudd Labor Government and its new laws."

The move comes after figures from the Workplace Ombudsman showing that fear of sacking barely ranked among the fears and concerns of employees.

 

 

 

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