Labor may be forced to lift unfair dismissal threshold

By: Chris Smith


The Rudd Government could be forced to lift the threshold for exemption from unfair dismissal laws to secure passage of

The Rudd Government could be forced to lift the threshold for exemption from unfair dismissal laws to secure passage of its Fair Work Bill.

Both the Opposition and Independents are calling for the threshold to be lifted from the 15 or fewer staff proposed by Labor.

Opposition workplace relations spokesman Michael Keenan says the coalition wants small business defined as employing up to 25 full-time equivalents; while Independent Steve Fielding is asking for a threshold of 20 FTEs.

Other members of the coalition, including Queensland senators Sue Boyce and Barnaby Joyce, have called for the cut-off to be raised to 50 FTEs.

South Australian senator Nick Xenophon has also raised concerns about the definition of small business.

While Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO Peter Anderson welcomes the suggestions, ACTU President Sharan Burrow claims almost 1 million workers would lose protection from unfair dismissal during a worsening job market if the Coalition’s proposal to lift the small business threshold to 25 employees was adopted.

Fielding’s suggestion to exempt businesses with fewer than 20 employees would adversely impact 36 percent of the workforce and expose workers in small businesses to potential exploitation, she adds.

Workplace Relations Minister Julia Gillard says the Government intends to pass the Bill in its present form.

You can also follow our updates by liking us on Facebook