TOP FIVE TIPS FOR EMPLOYERS THIS LONG WEEKEND
29 May 2015,
AUSTRALIA'S outdated penalty rates system is expected to hurt thousands of small businesses this long weekend, according to an employment law expert.
Employsure managing director Edward Mallett says calls to reduce public holiday wages remain unanswered.
Employers face additional costs during the Queen's Birthday on Monday, having to choose between shutting up shop and absorbing the inflated pay.
Mallett says the system is skewed against small businesses and employees also suffer as a result.
"Many small businesses are faced with this catch-22 over public holidays," Mallett says.
"Compulsory penalty rates have fallen away in the UK, New Zealand and the rest of the developed world, yet Australia still clings to a system which fails to reflect current market conditions."
He says employees can also be left without work for the day, despite being willing to work at ordinary rates.
A survey by the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry shows that small business conditions struggled in the March 2015 quarter, with many employers expecting the economy to deteriorate over the next 12 months.
During this period, small business profits declined for the second consecutive quarter.
Mallett says the added pressure of penalty rates will further dampen confidence and profitability of small business owners.
"These factors collectively have a significant impact on the economy," he says.
"Public holidays also give consumers an extra day when they can spend money, yet their options are narrowed because of unreasonable wage expectations.
"Many of our clients aren't sure which penalty rates apply to their businesses, and how to implement them.
"If an employer fails to pay penalty rates, or forces employees to work on public holidays unnecessarily, they could justifiably have a claim brought against them.
"The system is mind-bogglingly complex and just adds to the burden of red tape in running a business."