The Small Business Fair Dismissal Code was formed as part of “Forward with Fairness: Labor’s plan for fairer and more productive Australian workplaces” in recognition that small business owners do not have the time or expertise to navigate the complex unfair dismissal system. When the Code came into effect in 2009 under the Labor Government, the interpretation of the Code was challenged in the courts and, on occasion, by members of the Fair Work Commission. That created uncertainty for small business employers, as following the Code was no longer a reliable way of ensuring a dismissal was going to be deemed fair.
In April 2018, the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman released its report “Workplace Relations- Simplification for Small Business.” That report recommended ASBFEO lead a review of the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code and checklist.
Review key recommendations:
- Amendments to ensure the code meets its intended functions and objectives and provides certainty on what is required of small business employers to ensure a dismissal is fair.
- Improving small business education and awareness in relation to the Code and checklists to help them meet their obligations.
- Clarifying the unfair dismissal claims process for small business employers and employees.