Fair Work Ombudsman launches flexibility and diversity courses for small businesses

The Fair Work Ombudsman has launched workplace flexibility, diversity and discrimination courses to help small businesses understand the law.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says the easy-to-understand courses will help small businesses identify opportunities for flexibility in their workplace and understand the rules, and comply with law around offering employees flexible working conditions and discrimination.

“We know and acknowledge that many small businesses have concerns about meeting their obligations when it comes to flexibility in the workplace,’’ Natalie says.

“That is why we have worked with small businesses when developing these courses, so we can be aware of the specific concerns and challenges facing them. The courses cut through the complexity and provide employers with the information, advice, tools and templates they most need.

Natalie says the objective is also to show the benefits that can result from a small business implementing the right flexibility opportunities and capitalising on their diversity.

“Those benefits include attracting good quality staff, improved attendance, better retention of talented employees and having employees who are more engaged, productive and committed,’’ Natalie says.

The courses are interactive and video-based, and built on stories of people and workplaces – in a way that we hope is real and resonates with small businesses. Users can progress through at their own pace.

By offering flexible work conditions, Natalie says small businesses show a commitment to the wellbeing of employees and acknowledge the contribution they make to the business.

Flexible working conditions can include job sharing, working from home, rostered days off, flexible rostering, compressed hours and flexible start and finish times.

The Workplace Flexibility and Diversity and Discrimination courses were developed in partnership with the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC).

The Courses join the five existing courses in the Online Learning Centre and have been developed in consultation with small business employers and managers.

When completing the courses, managers can pause and resume, access assessments and download completion certificates.

The Online Learning Centre has attracted more than 50,000 users since it was launched in 2013. It is part of a range of free tools and resources provided by the Fair Work Ombudsman for small business owners.

The new courses are available in the Fair Work Ombudsman’s Online Learning Centre at www.fairwork.gov.au/learning

Employers and workers seeking advice and assistance can also call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94. Small business callers to the Infoline can opt to receive priority service through the Small Business Helpline.

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