The Australian Retailers Association claims that the majority of local retailers are unprepared for the Federal Government’s new Fair Work Act.
ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman said the Association’s latest survey indicates that more education is needed to help employers manage their obligations under the Fair Work Act as only 17 percent of its members are fully compliant with the new laws and over 40 percent are expecting increases in wage bills and operating costs.
He said retailers were doing their best to grapple with the new laws and hold onto staff but more help was needed.
“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.
“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.
“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.”
Zimmerman said retailers were telling the Association they would like more time to comply with the Fair Work Act with over 93 percent supporting a grace period before penalties are issued.
“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.”
For more information visit www.retail.org.au