Small businesses call for Government reform

24th February, 2016

The Fair Work Act is a killer for most small business owners. With 122 Federal awards, it is unnecessarily complicated and a big burden on already time poor SMEs.

This is the latest sentiment, according to our SME Snapshot February edition. We asked over 500 businesses how they felt about the Fair Work Act, and almost two in three strongly supported a simpler Act.

Currently, the Act requires small businesses to:

  • Meet minimum employment conditions including the National Employment Standards (NES) and modern awards
  • Comply with unfair and unlawful dismissal laws
  • Respect workplace rights specified in the Fair Work Act

SME operators want to do the right thing by their people, but keeping track of all the details across multiple awards can be tough.

From speaking to our clients, we know it can be a real barrier to hiring new staff. SMEs want to do the right thing but are worried about getting it wrong under a complex system.

We also went out to businesses and asked about the recent debate around increasing the GST rate to 15 percent. Over half of those SMEs gave the proposal the thumbs down, with 35 percent worried that customers would spend less as a result.

Since we went out with the research, the Government has made some decisions about GST, however reforming this area really would have provided the opportunity to make GST much simpler for small businesses – the productivity benefits could have been massive.

With the Prime Minister now taking a GST change off the cards, we’re encouraging Government to now take some simple steps to reduce the GST compliance burden on small business.

In an environment that’s all about boosting productivity and innovation, reducing the $13.7 billion that SMEs spend complying with GST and giving them back the 84 hours a year that SMEs spend on average collecting tax for the Australian Government will free them up to grow their businesses and be more successful.