Small business urged to prepare for employment changes

Small business owners are being warned to ensure they are prepared for upcoming changes to the Employment Relations Act, which will come into effect on May 6, said workplace relations firm Employsure.

The changes, which will affect rest and meal break, 90 day trials, vulnerable workers, union rights, collective bargaining and collective agreements, are likely to have a large impact on SMB and will be difficult to implement retroactively afterward, according to Employsure advice team leader Ashlea Maley.

“Our message to small business owners is to have the changes in place before the deadline,” Maley said.

One of the larger changes is the shift in 90-day employment trials, which will be restricted to businesses with 20 or fewer employees.

“For medium-sized businesses who employ 20 people or more, it will mean putting greater emphasis on the recruitment and management of new staff as the protection of the 90 day trial will be removed,” Maley said.

“The best thing small business owners can do is be aware of the changes, implement them into their business and get proper advice around any areas of confusion. Non-compliant could have serious consequences, so it’s best to be on the front-foot.”

The change to rest and meal breaks are also likely to affect many businesses, as it brings in specific rules in terms of payment, length and timing, bringing greater complexity, but more clarity, to an area that has historically been a source of confusion.

“This change means both employers and employees know exactly where they stand when agreeing to rest and meal breaks,” Maley said.

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