Workplace regulation is a complex web of rules and requirements that many small business owners struggle to navigate without legal assistance.
The Fair Work Act has 950 sections and 208,000 words, while there are 122 different modern awards. Many of these awards are prescriptive and daunting despite a recent effort to make them more accessible through streamlining. Layered over the award system, employers also face increasing regulation regarding matters including discrimination, privacy and work health and safety. These issues are important but add to the complexity of rules that govern workplaces.
Reforms are needed to ensure awards are pro-employment, do not exist as a barrier to the efficient structuring of working arrangements and set out standards appropriate to the industries and occupations they cover. We need to minimise inflexible requirements that create a disincentive to employ or make it harder to offer more work hours at times when a business is expected to trade.
We need to simplify the system by removing rules from a bygone era while providing necessary protections for workers.