New Year Checklist For Small Business

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1st December 2009, 10:00am - Views: 850

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Media Release

    Dec 1, 2009

Checklist for small business

Answer “yes” and celebrate the New Year with

confidence … if not, it’s time to seek advice!

With just a month to go before the New Year ushers in new workplace laws, Fair Work

Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson is urging small business owners not to wait until the last

minute to familiarise themselves with the changes.

From January 1 next year, small business will operate under the Federal Government’s

new safety net of minimum employment conditions.

Mr Wilson says employers who can’t answer “yes” to the following questions should seek

assistance – and his Agency has a team of 200 highly-skilled advisers manning the phones

from 8am to 6pm weekdays ready to help small business people with questions.

Do you know which Award your business is currently covered by and which Modern

Award will apply after January 1?

Are arrangements in place so that the business will comply with the National

Employment Standards when they come into force on January 1?

Are you keeping the required records and giving employees pay slips?

Are you aware of your options for making an Enterprise Agreement with


Do you understand how to bargain in good faith if you want to make an Enterprise

Agreement with employees?

Do you understand and are you able to comply with the Small Business Fair

Dismissal Code if terminating an employee’s employment?

Mr Wilson says the Fair Work Ombudsman can help employers who answer “no” to any of

the above to better understand their obligations under the Fair Work Act.

“We encourage small business to act now to find out about and prepare for the changes on

January 1, and we can assist,” he said.

Mr Wilson suggests a good first point of call for small business is a Best Practice Guide –

Small Business & the Fair Work Act on the web at


The guide explains the safety net of minimum employment conditions, the obligation to

bargain in good faith at the enterprise level, obligations to keep records and provide

payslips, unfair dismissal laws and protections for employees and obligations of employers.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has also prepared “how to” guidance for small business to

assist them safely navigate workplace matters such as:

Workplace bargaining for enterprise agreements

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Using individual flexibility agreements

Implementing better family friendly practices

Dispute resolution

Managing underperformance

Further materials are available on employing young workers, gender pay equity,

consultation in the workplace and workplace privacy.

Mr Wilson says it is important for the Fair Work Ombudsman to help educate and inform

employers about their legal obligations to their workforce.

“Our new legislation gives us the tool to promote national economic prosperity and social

inclusion by providing a balanced framework to encourage co-operative and productive

workplace relations,” he said. 

“For us, a fair workplace is one that builds a balance between the working and home lives

of employees; is just and ensures an even playing field; has all parties engaged in matters

affecting their workplace and is fully compliant with the law.”

The January 1, 2010 changes follow the commencement of the Fair Work Act on July 1 this

year which requires small business to comply with new unfair and unlawful dismissal laws,

agreement-making obligations, transfer of business rules and workplace rights.   

The Fair Work Ombudsman promotes harmonious, productive and co-operative workplace


Employers seeking help can call 13 13 94. For English translation, call 13 14 50. 

The Fair Work Ombudsman website contains a range of resources to assist employers,

employees and contractors, including fact sheets and templates, with some materials

translated in 23 different languages.

Media inquiries: 

Craig Bildstien, Director Media & Stakeholder Relations  0419 818 484 Email:

Ryan Pedler: Mob: 0434 365 924; Email:

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