The Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA) says the small business community is extremely concerned about the consequences of the proposed Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill, and calls for more consultation and collaboration to design reforms that would help small business.
COSBOA is looking for certainty about how the new Bill will impact small business. Small businesses are against being forced into multi-employer bargaining, especially where they are backed by strike action or union involvement.
COSBOA has long advocated for changes to IR laws to allow for fair and flexible terms to employ people – flexibility many employees also want – to enable small business to compete for and attract strong talent. COSBOA has also previously called for the definition of a small business under the Fair Work Act to be lifted from 15 employees to at least 20 full-time equivalents, and seek reform to the Modern award system to make it fit for purpose in the modern workplace.
“Whilst we are supportive of some aspects of the proposed Bill, we need to address the wall of complexity small businesses face when employing people. They compete with large business for talent in an already tight workforce, they don’t need more hurdles to jump through.
“We are hearing loud and clear that there is a serious concern amongst small businesses about the proposed multi-employer bargaining aspect of the Bill. We call for multi-employer bargaining aspects to be stripped from the current Bill.
“Fundamentally, we don’t want this Bill adding another layer of complexity to an already multi-layered IR system, which will disincentivise small businesses from employing more people and potentially stifle growth.
“The true implications of this Bill are not known. We call on the Government to allow the time and process for the impact to be discussed and understood.
Alexi Boyd, CEO of COSBOA said the Government needs to provide further explanation on how they envisage the provisions will impact small business, and then allow for the analysis of that impact to follow.
“The voice of small business must be heard on this Bill, for when small business thrives, so do communities,” said Boyd.