SMEs apprehensive about budget benefits…Facebook nears 2 billion users…FWO takes Coffee Club franchisee to court


A survey by SME software provider MYOB has found Australian small business owners are feeling apprehensive about the upcoming federal budget.

Forty-three percent of business owners surveyed revealed they were not confident the budget would deliver a positive outcome for small business, but nearly 50% disagreed a better outcome would occur under a Labor government.

As for areas of the budget small business owners are most concerned about, maintaining the $20,000 instant asset write-off policy, which due to finish in June, tops the list, followed by a lowering of the company tax rate. MYOB chief executive Tim Reed said in a statement the survey shows “trepidation” in the small business community in the face of the upcoming budget.

“Last year, Treasurer Scott Morrison said of small business: ‘they are the hope of the side’. This year’s budget presents an opportunity for the Government to back small business and cement their future in Australia,” Reed said.

Let SmartCompany know what you’re looking for in the upcoming budget by taking this quick two-minute survey.

Facebook approaches nearly two billion users

Facebook delivered its first quarter results this week, revealing it has captured approximately one quarter of the Earth’s population as users.

TechCrunch reports the company now boasts 1.94 billion monthly active users, up from 1.83 billion last quarter. The company also reported $US8.03 billion ($10.8 billion) in revenue for the quarter, beating estimates by around $US15 million.

Mobile use continues to soar, with mobile accounting for 85% of Facebook’s ad revenue, and the Asia-Pacific region continues to grow, increasing by 43 million users in the last quarter.

For SMEs wanting to get a slice of that userbase, Facebook is introducing a number of small business focused changes to its Messenger platform, including a discover function and new features for chat bots.

Fair Work Ombudsman takes Coffee Club franchisee to court

The Fair Work Ombudsman will take a Brisbane Coffee Club franchisee to court after it alleged the franchisee underpaid a worker then required them to pay the business his wages back in cash.

The FWO alleges the workers was paid no wages for four months after commencing his employment at the Coffee Club franchise and was then paid a one-off electronic transfer of $19,334.

The FWO claims the worker was then told by his employer to pay back $18,000 or the employer would cancel his 457 skilled worker visa. Through an investigation, the FWO claims it found the worker was owed a total of $23,546, which has now been paid back in full.

“It is hard to see a legitimate reason why an employer would require employees to be regularly paying back significant parts of their wage, and I am concerned that cashback schemes are being utilised by unscrupulous operators in an attempt to get around record keeping laws and disguise serious underpayment of wages,” Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said in a statement.

Penalties of up to $10,800 and $54,000 could be issued against the franchisee director and the company respectively.

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