A third of NSW small businesses are unaware of the Fair Work Act introduced last year, according to a survey conducted last month commissioned by the NSW Business Chamber.
The surprising results come despite the fact that many new awards start to apply from next month (July 1).
The independent survey of 400 NSW businesses with five to 50 employees found that of those aware of the Fair Work Act, 10 per cent say they are still not compliant.
“The Fair Work Act was introduced in July 2009 and employers are taking huge risks by not doing their due diligence, understanding their obligations and making the required changes, says Stephen Cartwright, CEO, NSW Business Chamber.
“It is a challenging time for employers. They should seek advice on this complex issue and ensure they are compliant,” he says.
“While the Fair Work Ombudsman is taking a fair approach for businesses making changes, no business can afford to risk non-compliance.”
Those not yet compliant with the Act cited they hadn’t had the time or the opportunity to look at what is required. More than a third of those not compliant stated they were in the process of making the appropriate changes to their business.
The introduction of the Fair Work Act saw many hundreds of federal and state industrial awards consolidated into 122 modern awards.
Modern awards came into effect from January 1 this year, with most having transitional arrangements, which allow the phasing of wages, penalties, and loadings from July this year until mid 2014.
Only half of the businesses in the survey that said they are compliant had taken steps to review the modern awards that apply to their business.
The Fair Work Australia and Fair Work Ombudsman’s websites were stated as a source of information by 40 per cent of respondents.
The NSW Business Chamber recently launched a dedicated website www.irmadeeasy.com.au that provides useful resources such as an online assessment so businesses can check their level of compliance and understanding, and find out what they need to do to meet their obligations under the Fair Work system.
NSW Business Chamber
Ph: 02 9458 7253