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Mental health of self-employed people counts – finally.

COSBOA congratulates the government and Small Business Minister, Senator Michaelia Cash, on the support for the mental health of small business people.

Peter Strong, CEO of COSBOA, stated, "this has been a long time coming. For years COSBOA has demanded that the self-employed person receive the same consideration as everyone else in the workplace, the employees. But due to the far right laissez-faire economists and the far left we have been invisible, we have had our humanity ignored and we have been treated as second class.”

COSBOA has had to demand that other organisations such as the Australian Human Rights Commission, other peak industry bodies and the various state and federal Departments of Health start to better understand that the majority of employers in Australia are actually human beings with mental health needs. They need to remember that there are over 1.5m business people in Australia who do not employ anyone but still work and are part of a workplace. Everyone’s health should count.

Mr Strong added, "and for those challenged by the concept of all people being important, let us point out several facts: a workplace cannot be healthy if only the employees are considered as important; the small business employer cannot make jobs secure, workplaces safe and compliance met if they are having a mental health crisis; if the employer is having a health crisis it puts the business and everyone’s jobs at risk; an overly stressed anxious employer will probably make employees the same way; the more you ask an employer to do in the way of compliance the more likely stress will occur; everyone in a big business is an employee; and most people in a workplace actually do care for each other.”

Mr Strong further added, “What has created this issue is those mentioned above who say things like, ‘when you start a business you know what you sign up to’; ‘how hard is it?’; or ‘you just have to step up to the mark’. Asking a person to run a successful business, employ people and then be the pay clerk for paid parental leave, be the unpaid collector of superannuation funds for multi-million dollar financial institutions and understand hundreds of pages of workplace relations is not going to help with their own health or therefore the health of others. And the latest proposal that a self-employed person be forced to manage someone else’s horrific domestic violence problem is also profoundly disturbing.”

Well done to the government, and everyone should be aware COSBOA will be there to make sure  organisations who sign up to be part of this don’t do so just because it makes them look good, those involved must actually and honestly care for people not just for ‘the look’.

Read more about the government's announcement here

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