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Changes in unfair dismissal laws affecting small businesses

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From 1 January 2011, there is a change in the way a small business is defined for the purposes of Federal unfair dismissal laws.

Prior to 1 January 2011, a small business employer was for these purposes defined as an employer who employs fewer than 15 full-time equivalent employees. However, from 1 January 2011, the method of calculating the number of employees will be based on a headcount of employees, irrespective of the number of hours they work.

The headcount will include full time and part time employees, casuals employed on a regular and systematic basis, employees of associated entities and the employee(s) being dismissed.

For small businesses with fewer than 15 employees, an employee cannot make an unfair dismissal claim unless the employee has completed a period of employment of at least 12 months with the employer.

MST has extensive experience in assisting its clients to comply with the most current employment laws, including advising on unfair dismissal proceedings. Please contact one of our Workplace Relations lawyers for further information.

Author: Chao Ni

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