Media release

How will the Fair Work Act affect your business?

26 December 2009

With the new Fair Work Act coming into force from 1 January 2010, small business operators will need to know how these changes will affect their business.

Small Business Development Corporation Acting Managing Director, Ms Jacky Finlayson, says although Western Australia still has its own State system,many employers (essentially incorporated entities) and their employees will be subject to the Fair Work Act 2009 under the national system.

Only sole traders, partnerships, other unincorporated entities and non-trading corporations and their employees will continue to operate under the WA State system. In addition, there are two National Employment Standards (NES) entitlements that apply to all full-time and part-time employees, whether they are covered by the national workplace relations system or not. These are in regard to parental leave and related entitlements, and notice of termination.

“Time is running out for small business operators to identify what changes need to be made to their employee entitlements in order to comply with the new national laws,” Ms Finlayson said.

The NES are set out in the Fair Work Act 2009 and comprise 10minimum standards of employment.

In summary, the NES involve the following minimum entitlements:

Maximum weekly hours of work – 38 hours per week,plus reasonable additional hours.
Requests for flexible working arrangements – allows parents or careers of a child under school age or of a child under 18 with a disability, to request a change in working arrangements to assist with the child’scare.

Parental leave and related entitlements – up to12 months unpaid leave for every employee, plus a right to request an additional12 months unpaid leave, plus other forms of maternity, paternity and adoption related leave.

Annual leave – 4 weeks paid leave per year, plus an additional week for certain shift workers.

Personal / carer’s leave and compassionate leave – 10 days paid personal / carer’s leave, two days unpaid carer's leave as required, and two days compassionate leave (unpaid for casuals)as required.

Community service leave – unpaid leave for voluntary emergency activities and leave for jury service, with an entitlement to be paid for up to 10 days for jury service.

Long service leave – a transitional entitlement for certain employees who had certain LSL entitlements before 1/1/10 pending the development of a uniform national long service leave standard.

Public holidays – a paid day off on a public holiday,except where reasonably requested to work.

Notice of termination and redundancy pay – up to 4 weeks notice of termination (5 weeks if the employee is over 45 and has at least 2 years of continuous service) and up to 16 weeks redundancy pay, both based on length of service.

Provision of a Fair Work Information Statement – employers must provide this statement to all new employees. It contains information about the NES, modern awards, agreement-making, the right to freedom of association, termination of employment, individual flexibility arrangements, rights of entry, transfer of business, and the respective roles of Fair Work Australia and the Fair Work Ombudsman.

For more information, contact us on 131 BIZ (131 249).

Media contact: Di Graham (08) 9220 0218 or 0409 089 159.


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