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Suspend jobs law for small business



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John Howard NEWS RELEASE Member for BennelongShadow Minister for industrial Relations & Manager of Opposition Business in the HouseIR 017/94SUSPEND JOBS LAW FOR SMALL BUSINESSThe government must suspend the operation of the new unfair dismissal segment of the recently enacted Industrial Relations Reform Act - at least so far as it affects small business.Otherwise the whole of the training strategy, which is central to the employment White Paper, will be at risk.Instead of irresponsibly threatening employers with a wages breakout as did the Prime Minister and the ACTU President, Martin Ferguson, two months ago, these same men should reflect on what a massive disincentive there is for small firms to take on more employees as a consequence of the new Industrial Relations Act.Employer complaints are not exaggerated. Small business is scared stiff about the rigidity of the new system. Its natural reaction will be to avoid hiring more staff, even at subsidised rates.Small firms don't have the resources to monitor the new laws. So they will just turn away from increasing the size of their workforces.The one week of probation proposed in the White Paper is not enough. It is already clear that this will be insufficient to quieten employer concerns.There was never any need for the new law on unfair dismissals. The old law was fair and balanued for both employers and employees.Reversing the onus of proof has needlessly intimidated many small business operators out of seeking new staff. They perceive it will be too difficult to retrench incompetent performers.It should not be assumed that the wage subsidies proposed for limited periods under the White Paper, even in conjunction with the training wage, will be enough to overcome the genuine worries of small employers.It is typical of this government that a scheme which proposes to spend billions of dollars over several years is in danger because of needless concessions it has made to the ACTU.CANBERRA 15/5/94COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MICAH