Retailers wary of new Fair Work laws

The Australian Retailers Association’s latest survey on the effects of the Fair Work Act has highlighted that 72 per cent of retailers don’t understand their obligations under the new laws and are wary of the effect it will have on their business.

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

Zimmerman highlighted that many retailers are expecting an increase in wage bills as a result of the new laws.

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

“In fact, only 12 percent of retailers are reporting they will shed staff under the new Fair Work regime. When this is compared with 68 percent 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.”

Some of the other key findings from the survey are: 12 per cent of retailers will shed staff, almost 34 per cent will limit hiring new staff, 41.5 per cent will make rostering changes, over 32 per cent will give employees less hours and over 45 per cent aren’t sure how the new IR laws will impact their business.

“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.

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