The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) today welcomed the ‘one-strike’ warning system proposed in the new fair dismissal laws, but called on the government to recognise the casual nature of the modern retail workplace.

ARA executive director Richard Evans said the government’s definition of small business as employers of 15 workers or less failed to take into account the large number of casual workers in small retail workplaces.

“The removal of the multiple three-step warnings to a one-strike system is a step in the right direction for retail employers and we also welcome the exclusion of seasonal and task specific employment under the new laws.
“However, with the causalisation of modern retail workforce many small retailers easily employ between 40 and 60 staff members and there is no certainty under the proposed fair dismissal arrangements for employers of a casual workforce,” said Evans.

Evans said Australian businesses are changing and casual workplace arrangements mean small business are growing in terms of employees but not necessarily in terms of profitability. New dismissal laws need to reflect this modern workplace environment.

Another concern for small retailers is the six month compensation cap, said Evans. While retailers are supportive of a compensation cap, six months compensation is an unwelcomed financial burden for small retailers who are already suffering.