The Case for Unfair Dismissal Reform: a review of the evidence

William Robbins, Gerry Voll

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Exemption of small business from the federal 'unfair dismissal' laws has been on the Coalition Government's agenda since 1996 and with control of the Senate in July 2005 it is anticipated its reforms will be implemented in October This paper examines the justification for such reform by analysing the Government's evidence for its assertion that it inhibits job growth in the small business sector, detailing the incidence of 'unfair dismissals' generally and outlining what small business has said about 'unfair dismissal' legislation and processes by an examination of recent research on this issue. The paper also looks briefly at the practical processes and the personal human drama associated with 'unfair dismissal'. This is set in the national and international context of Australia's ILO obligations. The paper concludes that the justification used by the Government is not sustained by the evidence and indeed suggests that there is some evidence that job growth resulting from the reform might be negative. Future research is required to monitor the effects of the reform.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-254
Number of pages18
JournalAustralian Bulletin of Labour
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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