Townsville Business Development Centre (TBDC) Members will now have access to free advice to ensure their businesses are Fair Work and Work Health & Safety (WHS) compliant.

It’s thanks to a new partnership between the TBDC and Australia’s leading and largest workplace relations specialist Employsure.

The collaboration will see TBDC Members granted access to professional and practical advice and support through free training seminars delivered as part of the TBDC’s new Members Workshop Program. While Employsure will also open ALL of its seminars held across the region to TBDC Members free-of-charge and provide a discounted rate if Members choose to engage them further.

Employsure Townsville Representative Carina Schmitt said the number of Fair Work claims are continuing to rise – costing Australian businesses millions.

“A claim can arise due to an honest error in interpretation of an award, missing a legislative change or wage increase due to the busy nature of being a business owner. Other times it has been a lack of compliant documentation and evidence to prove they have followed a fair process when dealing with employee challenges,” Ms Schmitt said.

“As the local Employsure representative I am delighted to partner with TBDC as a proactive step to assist members to gain more knowledge, as well as have the confidence to effectively manage their employees which is fundamental to business success.

“If members seek and follow all advice from Employsure and a claim through FWC or WHS arises, they will be indemnified up to a maximum of $200,000 per claim and Employsure will manage the entire proceedings on their behalf “

Fair Work Organisation (FWO) statistics show the number of complaints finalised have increased from 90 in 2013-14 to 171 in 2016-17.

TBDC CEO Ben Verning said the ever-changing landscape of penalty rates, leave entitlements and WHS regulations is a challenging environment for any business, but particularly small businesses in their foundation years.

“As the peak Small Business Advisory Service in the region, we are proactive in developing strategies to help our Members remove the risk of time-consuming, potentially costly and often avoidable dispute resolution processes,” he said.

“We’ve already had fantastic feedback following the first Employsure workshop last week and we’re looking forward to this partnership benefiting many more local small businesses and TBDC Members.”

It comes as the new TBDC Board and Management rolls out a revamped membership structure including a free Workshop Program to increase upskilling opportunities, benefits and results for its Members and their businesses.

Current TBDC Member Natalie Judge from Baseline Industries took part in the inaugural Employsure training seminar at the TBDC and said it had highlighted the importance of governance in her business.

“Attending the Employsure seminar really helped remind me and reinforce the potential risk the business is exposed to and since the Seminar Employsure have been very helpful and provided assistance to review our processes and documentation,” Ms Judge said.

“I am feeling confident to be part of the future with TBDC providing more support to small business in Townsville and surrounding areas.”

TBDC workshops are free to Members and $40 for Non-Members. You can view the upcoming workshop schedule and book your spot as well as apply for membership through the TBDC website.