New Telstra software to ease businesses through IR changes

By: Graham Gardiner

Small businesses say they are not ready for the new IR laws, and a majority are devoid of appropriate software,

Small businesses say they are not ready for the new IR laws, and a majority are devoid of appropriate software, according to a report by Telstra.

The report, based on research by AMR Interactive Research, was released today to coincide with the launch of the telecommunications giant’s new online software service, T-Suite.

Telstra announced today that a range of online software applications will be available to businesses as part of nation-wide service platform.

Business owners who are unsure of their obligations under the changing employment laws can now use the software tools to ensure compliance.

T-Suite features an Australian-designed employment management system called Workforce Guardian.

Telstra Business Group Managing Director, Deena Shiff, says Workforce Guardian is one of many tools available to small businesses to help them manage day-to-day activities.

"The costs for small businesses, in ensuring their human resources practices remain compliant with the legislation, can be high, particularly when many don’t have proper systems and processes in place to ensure compliance with the new laws," Shiff says.

"From today, SMEs can log onto to access Workforce Guardian, generate employment agreements and manage hiring, performance and termination issues – all updated to reflect changing employment laws at any time."

According to the survey, more than one-third – 37 percent – of business owners say they have poor to no understanding of their obligations under the new laws.

While 55 percent of those surveyed feel they are partly prepared for the changes, a considerable 29 percent are not prepared at all.

A statistic of concern is that nearly half – 46 percent – of the businesses have no systems in place to manage the new IR laws.

This is where Telstra’s new range of software is expected to fill a market void, and assist businesses through their apprehension.

Workforce Guardian Managing Director, Adrienne Unkovich, urges small businesses to seek advice and information if they were unsure about their obligations under the new laws.

"With unfair dismissal rules coming into effect from July 1, and national employment standards and modern awards from January 1 next year, time poor and resource constrained small businesses are best advised to automate their HR processes as quickly as possible or seek advice from their business advisor," she says.

"While most SMEs are aware the laws are changing, most are struggling with what the changes mean for their business and how they can manage the risk given that fines and remedies are the same for small business as for big business."

In addition to the Workforce Guardian system, T-Suite has introduced WORKetc, which assists business workflow and development by managing quotes, projects and invoices.

Skoot, Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Exchange Mail are the new communications applications which will allow businesses to securely send and store more documents, increase productivity and establish shared files.

The security applications range features Telstra Remote Back-up, which helps prevent data loss and enables easy recovery of PC-contained information.

Telstra is currently negotiating deals with other software vendors, and is expected to add more T-Suite applications over the coming months.

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