2016 has seen a number of recommendations from the The Productivity Commission on workplace-relations changes with the aim of finding a better balance between the needs of business owners and workers.

After reviewing the Workplace-Relations Framework, The Productivity Commission has made a number of recommendations that small business owners ought to be aware of.

Although there have been no wholesale changes, it is important that you be mindful of possible changes that will affect your business in the future.

The following is a list of the recommended changes:

1) Penalty Rates

The Commission has recommended reducing Sunday penalty rates to accord with Saturday rates in order to adapt to the seven-day economy. If you run a business where you routinely roster staff on the weekends, you may need to reassess whether you get the right distribution of workers on the weekend based on their hourly rates, preference for working hours, experience and ability, and the special needs of some employees to have specific times off.

You may find that some workers will become unwilling to work Sundays due to the reduced rate and others will want to increase their work hours to make up for the lower Sunday rate.

In addition, if you run a business and have traditionally closed on Sundays, it may be time to reconsider whether you want to remain open. The lower cost of labour may make Sunday a more beneficial day to open depending on the specific circumstances of your business.

2) Awards and Flexibility

The Productivity Commission has recommended changes to the award and encouragement for workplace flexibility arrangements.

It is possible that your business may need to update your process to comply in the future. This may mean changing the hourly rate of some of your employees or altering the minimum number of shifts-per-week your business permits to accord with possible new laws to increase workplace flexibility.

3) Unfair Dismissal Claims

The Commission has also recommended changes that will make bringing an unfair dismissal claim more difficult. This is good news if you run a business as these claims can be a huge drain on time and resources.

Although it is important that employees are not dismissed for an irrelevant or negligible reason, greater freedom for small business owners means that they can afford to hire more employees as the chance of being taken to court is greatly reduced.

Lawpath

Luckily Lawpath will help you comply with any changes to the law and ensure that you have all the resources available to make the best decision possible for your business.

Still unsure if your business complies with all relevant laws? Contact a LawPath consultant on 1800 529 728 to get fixed price quotes to get advice from an experienced lawyer or patent attorney specific to your needs.

Rhys Diab

Rhys is a Paralegal at LawPath in their content team. Pursuing his interest in digital marketing and commercial law, he has completed a law degree at the University of New South Wales and is involved in online media.