Former Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell released the Review of the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code on 6 August 2019, which recommends a suite of changes to help small business employers meet their obligations.

The Small Business Fair Dismissal Code (the Code) was formed in recognition that small business owners do not have the time or expertise to navigate the complexity of the unfair dismissal system.

However since it came into effect in 2009, the interpretation of the Code has been challenged by lawyers and, on occasion, Members of the Commission. As a result, small business employers cannot be certain that following the Code will mean a dismissal will be deemed fair.

Our recommendations aim to make the Code easier for small business employers to comply with and make it easier for the Commission to rely on the improved definitions and clarified requirements. We believe our recommendations will better enable the Code to achieve its original intent - that if small business employers comply with the Code when dismissing an employee, that dismissal will be deemed fair.