It is becoming more and more apparent, that no matter how small your business is, you can not avoid your obligations in regards to meeting your employer obligations. Many thanks to our great friends at Brands Law for this great example of the line of thinking to which our courts are dealing with breaches of the Fair Work Act:
"Back in April 2011, in a case involving underpayment of penalty rates to employees, Magistrate Hawkins said there was a need to "send a message to the community at large and small employers particularly, that the correct entitlements for employees must be paid and that steps must be taken by employers (of all sizes) to ascertain and comply with minimum entitlements (as opposed to ignoring those obligations).
"Compliance should not be seen as the bastion of the large employers with human resources staff and advisory consultants (accountants, consultants, lawyers) behind them"."
In a speech in May 2011, the Fair Work Ombudsman made a point that it "was not sufficient for companies to turn a blind eye and hope that they are meeting their obligations". He particularly made the point that companies need to make sure that they are resourcing their obligations appropriately.
With this type of language coming from our courts and the Ombudsman, it is very evident and important that all businesses, regardless of size have in place a system for ensuring compliance with their awards, the Fair Work Act and the National Employment Standards.
Our experience with small to medium sized businesses has shown that business people are finding it more and more difficult to manage these obligations. As we have said in our blog posts before - the system itself is not built for small business.
Unfortunately, it appears that the message from our courts is that small businesses need to manage their obligations similarly to the way they would be handled in big business. However, small businesses do not have the human resources staff etc to do that!
Understanding your obligations can be difficult and managing them can be time consuming. The place to start is to ensure you are compliant now!
Why not book one of our People and Business Reviews where we can help you identify the actions you can take to ensure you are meeting your obligations.