Retailers struggling with Fair Work Act

Fair_work_2_w250Retailers are petitioning for an extension of the deadline to comply with the new Fair Work Act, according to the Australian Retailers Association (ARA). “Retailers are telling us they would like more time to comply with the Fair Work Act, with over 93 per cent supporting a grace period before penalties are issued,” confirmed ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman.

“These are massive changes and it’s crucial the Government recognises the key role employer groups play in getting employers up to speed with the new laws to help them manage increased costs without letting go of staff,” Zimmerman said.

More education was needed to help employers manage their obligations under the new act, which came into effect on January 1. Over 40 per cent of retailers were expecting increases in wage bills and operating costs but only 17 per cent fully compliant with the new laws. Retailers were doing their best to tackle the new system and hold onto staff but more help was needed, Zimmerman said.

“Currently, over 54 per cent of retailers have made operational changes to comply with the Fair Work Act but over 83 per cent of retailers need to do more before they are fully compliant. Almost 72 per cent of retailers don’t fully understand their obligations under the Fair Work Act,” Zimmerman said.

“Of the 40 per cent of retailers who expect to see wage and operational cost increases as a result of new IR laws, over 42 per cent expect these increases to be between five and 10 per cent. However, good retailers understand holding onto staff is the best thing they can do for their business and for the wider economy.

“In fact, only 12 per cent of retailers are reporting they will shed staff under the new Fair Work regime. When this is compared with 68 per cent of retailers who reported they would let go of employees to cope with new IR laws in March last year, it is clear Fair Work education and information seminars are essential in helping employers manage their new obligations.

Retailers were now “diligently looking at other ways to deal with cost increases as a result of Fair Work”, Zimmerman said, with more than 49 per cent attending Fair Work information seminars run by employer associations and actively looking for assistance to comply with new laws and manage associated costs without shedding staff.

Almost 36 per cent of retailers have confirmed they will limit hiring new staff as a result of the new Fair Work regime, with 41.5% planning to make rostering changes, over 32 per cent planning to give employees less hours and over 45 per cent claiming they’re unsure how the new IR laws will impact their business

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