Small businesses blindsided by proposed changes in Fair Work Amendment Bill

parliamentary, parliament

With discussions underway in the Federal Parliament on the proposed Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Bill 2022, the Franchise Council of Australia (FCA) is raising concerns about some of the proposed changes that have left many small businesses confused.

Specifically, the FCA pointed out that during a recent snap survey of its members, they recorded that 68 per cent of franchisee small-business respondents did not understand the proposed industrial relations changes or know how they might impact their business operations.

Of those who felt that they understood the proposed reforms, 55 per cent were concerned about the changes in the Bill, particularly the multi-employer bargaining provisions.

“These figures highlight the small-business community’s strong degree of concern about the government’s proposed industrial relations changes,” Mary Aldred, CEO of the FCA said. “This Bill represents the most significant reforms ever introduced to the Fair Work Act. Given the potential impact on our economy, employers and employees, the government should not rush the legislative process.”

Aldred pointed out the legislation was only publicly released on 27 October and the government has already circulated 150 amendments in response to community and business feedback.

“This demonstrates that a longer consultation and review process is required,” Aldred said. “Australian small businesses need to focus on recovering from two years of COVID disruption and cannot afford to be weighed down by complex industrial relations rules.

“We are committed to working constructively and in good faith with the government, crossbench and broader business community on ways to improve the legislation,” Aldred concluded.