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AGAINST – Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Bill 2022 - Consideration in Detail - Definition of small business

The majority voted in favour of disagreeing with amendments introduced by Mayo MP Rebekha Sharkie (Centre Alliance), which means they failed.

What does this amendment do?

Ms Sharkie explained that:

The purpose of this amendment is to amend section 23 of the Fair Work Act with the effect of changing the definition of a small business. Currently, section 23 defines a small business as a business comprising of 15 employees or less. Casuals are not included in this count unless there is a systematic or regular nature to their employment. For most businesses this would mean most, if not all, of their casual the employees would be included in the employee count for the purposes of defining a small business.

My amendment seeks to change the number of employees that define a small business from 15 to 100. The rationale for this change is simple. Businesses with fewer than 100 staff do not have the human resources departments, they do not have the pay roster, they simply do not have capacity to expend resources—financial and human—to negotiate enterprise bargaining agreements that this bill will potentially force upon them. Without this change we are relegating the thousands of mum-and-dad businesses and entrepreneurial enterprises to an immediate future of costly union-led negotiations. These businesses, many of which are still trying to recover from COVID-19, cannot afford the time or the financial resources.

Amendment text

That the following words be added after the words 90 days: ."; and

(1) parts 1, 2 and 3 of the bill are added to the inquiry; and

(2) calls on the Government to change the definition of a small business from 15 to 100 employees".


Date and time: 10:48 AM on 2022-11-10
Allegra Spender's vote: No
Total number of "aye" votes: 80
Total number of "no" votes: 54
Total number of abstentions: 17
Related bill: Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Bill 2022

Adapted from information made available by

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