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Unfair dismissals legislation is costing jobs: results of a Survey on the employment effects of unfair dismissal legislation



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ACN 008 391 795

MEDIA RELEASE

On Monday the Senate is to debate whether to remove the Government’s regulations exempting small business from Federal unfair dismissals legislation. In looking at whether or not to remove these regulations, the Senate should be aware that the existing unfair dismissals legislation is having a devastating effect on the labour market.

During January and the first half of February ACCI conducted a survey on the effect of unfair dismissals legislation on employment. As part of our Survey o f Investor Confidence the following question was asked:

“Has unfair dismissals legislation had any effect on employment decisions in your business during the past twelve months?

a) It has had no effect on employment decisions b) I have employed fewer employees because of this legislation.”

The survey results showed that 39.7 per cent of businesses had employed fewer employees because of unfair dismissal legislation [see the attached results].

Moreover, the data further showed that the smaller the firm, the more likely it was to have not employed someone because of concerns with unfair dismissals.

It has been suggested that the fall in the number of applications for unfair dismissals in the Federal jurisdiction shows the legislation is no longer an obstacle to job creation. The survey results show otherwise.

The number of applications is an inappropriate means of estimating the effect of the legislation. These results show employers are unwilling to hire to avoid even the possibility of such an application being filed.

Concerns with this legislation now run so deeply within business that steps are taken to limit the potential for such claims. Not hiring when they otherwise might have done so is one of the means that business uses to limit its liability.

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May be reported on: Monday, 15 February 1999

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Unfair Dismissals Legislation is Costing Jobs Results of a Survey on the Employment Effects of Unfair Dismissal Legislation

Statement by Mark Paterson, Chief Executive

L E A D I N G A U S T R A L I A N B U S I N E S S