Understanding the Fair Work Bill

A national survey conducted by Drake has revealed that two thirds of employers are unaware of their obligations under the new Fair Work Bill that will take effect from July 1, 2009.

THE survey identified three issues that were of particular concern to employers ­— the provisions dealing with unfair dismissals; changes to redundancy processes and costs; and the new provisions about flexible working conditions.

Organisations that have between 15 and 100 employees will become subject to the risk of unfair dismissal proceedings if they do not follow the required processes, according to Drake.

But there are also changes that impact employers of all sizes.

The new redundancy provisions will make it more difficult for employers to implement retrenchments and will require effective communication to take place between employer and employees. For some employers, redundancy costs will increase.

The survey results also reveal that employers are concerned about new provisions that encourage parents of young families to consult with their employers about more flexible working hours. Employers will now need to explain the operational reasons if they are to deny such requests.

Additionally, almost half of the employers in the Drake survey are considering increasing the proportion of temporary staff in their workforces to avoid some of the risks apparent with the new legislation.

Drake advises employers to fully understand the implications of the new bill before considering a change in HR policies and procedures.

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