Employees and your business
A checklist to ensure compliance
Employing people in your business is both an exciting milestone and also can be burdensome given the robust employment law regime in place in Australia. Ensuing that you and your business are in line with the requirements of the employment laws is important, both to the longevity of your company and your employees.
This checklist has been designed to assist you in ensuring you meet the relevant requirements and provides tips of hurdles to consider when employing people in your business.
HOW ARE THOSE YOU ENGAGE IN YOUR BUSINESS CLASSIFIED?
People enaged in your business can be classified as employees or contractors.
Employees are usually brought on either in a casual, part-time or full-time capacity, whereas contractors are hired for a fixed-term and with a particular project in mind. When determining the classification of individuals, it is very important to ensure that the tasks they are undertaking, and their working hours and entitlement adequately reflect the requirements for that type of role under the national employment laws.
Non-compliance has substantial consequences with penalties being issued by both Fair Work and the Courts. These penalties can include award for superannuation or leave, or back-pay for past work not paid in line with national employment standards.
WHAT IS AN AWARD AND ARE THEY APPLICABLE TO YOUR BUSINESS?
An award, as a part of the employment law scheme, is a governing document which stipulates details such as minimum rates of pay, entitlement, allowances for travel and meals, as well as any penalty rates applicable to certain industries and roles. Awards are set by the Fair Work Commission. Each award and details of such can be found on the Fair Work Australian website.
Whilst they only apply to some types of jobs - including admin staff, retail assistants and apprentices - compliance is mandatory unless your arrangement with the employee exceeds their entitlements under the Award. Employers need to ensure that these guidelines set by the award relevant to the business is followed, to also ensure that disputes over working conditions and entitlements do not arise.
IS YOUR PAPERWORK SUITABLE?
The employment contracts - or independent contractor agreement - should not be a copy and paste from another business, nor a mere carbon copy amongst all employees or contractors. Employment Agreements and Independent Contractor Agreements are the foundation of your engagement and therefore need to accurately describe the working relationship, and ensure it has all the relevant protections for your business.
These agreements will often set out the following -
- Employees' duties;
- Contractors' roles;
- Rates of pay;
- Leave entitlements (if a part-time/full-time employee);
- Superannuation payments (if applicable);
- Retention of IP rights; and
- Termination policy and notice periods.
HOW DO YOUR WORKPLACE POLICIES STACK UP?
If you have employees or engage contractors in your business, then you need to have several policies in place which govern how employees and contractors conduct themselves at work, and when completing work-related tasks elsewhere. Policies assist in ensuring the reputation of your business is not harmed, as well as ensuring that those engaged by the business are safe and free from harm, and have clear parameters.
Some relevant policies for companies include -
- Use of social media;
- Appropriate workplace conduct;
- Termination and warning system; and
- Use of equipment.
HOW DO YOU ENSURE THE SAFETY AND HEALTH OF YOUR WORKERS?
Occupation Health & Safety (OH&S) is important in any workplace to ensure that the working environment is safe and suitable for everyone, however this is particularly important in high-risk professions (such as construction). These high-risk professions have more involved OH&S processed which need to be in place pursuant to law, so it is important to confirm the requirements for your company and compliance with these before engaging contractors and/or employees.
If you would like to learn more about the documents mentioned above, and what Cubed by Law Squared can do to help get your business off on the right foot, please leave your details using the link below, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.