More education is needed to help employers manage their obligations under the Fair Work Act according to a recent survey, with over 40 per cent of retailers expecting increases in wage bills and operating costs, while only 17 per cent are fully compliant with the new laws.
The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) executive director Russell Zimmerman said retailers were doing their best to grapple the new laws and hold onto staff but more help was needed.
"Currently, over 54 per cent of retailers have made operational changes to comply with the Fair Work Act but over 83 per cent of retailers need to do more before they are fully compliant,” he said.
Almost 72 per cent of retailers don’t fully understand their obligations under the Fair Work Act. Of the 40 per cent of retailers who expect to see wage and operational cost increases as a result of new IR laws, more than 42 per cent expect these increases to be between five and 10 per cent. 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 per cent of retailers are reporting they will shed staff under the new Fair Work regime,” said Zimmerman.
“When this is compared with 68 per cent 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.”
Instead, retailers are now diligently looking at other ways to deal with cost increases as a result of Fair Work, according to Zimmerman. They are attending Fair Work information seminars run by employer associations (almost 49 per cent) and actively looking for assistance to comply with new laws and manage associated costs without shedding staff.
. Over 12 per cent of retailers will shed staff to cope with the new laws
. Almost 36 per cent of retailers will limit hiring new staff
. 41.5 per cent of retailers will make rostering changes
. Over 32 per cent of retailers will give employees less hours
. Over 45 per cent of retailers aren’t sure how the new IR laws will impact their business
"Retailers are telling us they would like more time to comply with the Fair Work Act, with over 93 per cent 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," said Zimmerman.