Small Business Corner
Small businesses can now refer to a new website set up by the Fair Work Ombudsman to answer some of the most pressing questions on their workplace obligations.
The Small Business Showcase aims to make all the information and resources a small business could need available in the one place – covering topics as diverse as hiring employees and calculating their pay, to resolving workplace issues.
Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James is urging small business owners to participate in the showcase to ensure they’re up-to-date with their obligations under workplace law.
"Our Small Business Showcase is a great opportunity for small businesses to brush up on their workplace relations knowledge, download practical resources and find out more about the assistance the agency can provide," James says.
"Our experience, backed up by research, is that small businesses can be overconfident when it comes to compliance – failing to check the rules to ensure they’ve got things right."
The Ombudsman’s push comes after changes were made to the Fair Work Act last year, doubling the maximum penalty for failing to keep employee records or issue pay slips to $63,000 for a company and $12,600 for an individual.
The changes also tripled the maximum penalty for knowingly making or keeping false or misleading employee records to $12,600 for an individual.
James says the ombudsman expects employers to have checked the rules that apply to them – adding that it needed them to promptly rectify any errors when problems arise.
"Small errors arising from issues such as not passing on the annual wage increase or incorrectly classifying workers can add up to big underpayments over time – which can make for expensive and unexpected back-payment bills down the track," James says.
"What we want to do now is make it even easier for small businesses to access the information they need to implement positive workplace practices and help their business succeed at any time of the day."
The showcase includes six instructional videos demonstrating how small business owners can use Fair Work Ombudsman resources to meet their obligations as an employer.
It also has a series of opinion polls and surveys running throughout the showcase that will provide small business owners with the opportunity to share insights and highlight the key workplace issues facing small businesses today.
Truck Assist | Know Your Truck
Within the next two years, Mack will launch a new model in Australia.
It will be the Mack Anthem, a model launched in the US in the back half of 2017 and now in production at Mack’s vastly upgraded Lehigh Valley facility in Pennsylvania.
In the US, Mack executives make no secret of the fact that Anthem is the spearhead of a determined bid to reinstate the bulldog’s presence in the premium North American interstate market.
For many years up to the mid-70s or thereabouts, Mack was a dominant force in the US linehaul business but today, that presence has been whittled to less than two percent.
Senior Mack executives are under no illusions about the difficulty of the task ahead and at this point, goals are modest. However, the unequivocal intention is to get to double digits, sooner rather than later.
Key to Anthem’s prospects in North America is a stand-up cab with a superbly equipped 70-inch sleeper.
Righthand-drive Australian models will, of course, be built at the Volvo Group factory in Wacol, Brisbane, but only after a long and detailed testing program to ensure the reconfigured cab will withstand Australian operating conditions.
There’s no reason it won’t come through with flying colours. After all, the Anthem cab employs much the same steel shell which has been serving Mack faithfully and reliably for many years in many parts of the world.
Wisely though, Mack’s local leaders won’t be taking any chances. There’s simply too much at stake in such a demanding and unforgiving market as Australia.
Still, Anthem provides something Mack has wanted and invariably needed in this country for a long time and that, obviously enough, is a stand-up cab.
In its complete form, Anthem will be a direct replacement for the current Granite model.
However, Anthem will do far more than simply replace an existing model.
For starters, the completely redesigned interior layout and high-roof design will be transplanted into Trident, Super-Liner and Titan models. Only the shorthaul Metro-Liner misses out.
The excitement and passion within Mack ranks both here and in the US is almost palpable, and easily understood given the long wait for a development such as this.
Our technical editor Steve Brooks was recently a guest of Mack in the US and on a cold, snowy test track in Pennsylvania, was given the opportunity to climb behind the wheel of a day cab and low-rise sleeper version of the new Anthem.
It’s early days, but equally, early impressions were hugely positive.
The look is decidedly different but then again, so is Anthem.
A detailed feature story will soon appear but in the meantime, here’s a little footage of a new dog with new tricks.
Read more on the Mack Anthem in the May edition of ATN.
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