Employment

Volume of work, customer demands and plans for future growth may require you to employ an additional worker or workers. There are many issues that should be considered before making a commitment.

Before employing

Before employing a new worker, the work to be done should be evaluated. The duties and responsibilities of the position, and the skills, expertise and experience that will be required to do the work should be identified. A job description should be prepared.

The employment conditions, level of pay and other costs of employment, including the physical accommodation of the worker should be considered.

Will the benefits of employing outweigh the costs?

Employing staff

It is important to attract and retain the right people. The employment process will run more smoothly if you know how to:

  • advertise
  • interview
  • select the right applicant
  • draw up a formal offer of employment.

Good human resource management also includes proper induction, training and review of employee performance. The Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC) sells a range of books that cover human resource issues. See the complete list of publications available from the SBDC online bookshop.

Do your employees know?

Do your employees know what you expect of them, what your organisation is all about, and what their role is in your business?

Employment arrangements

The Department of Commerce website and Wageline 1300 655 266 provide information on wage rates, award conditions, enterprise bargaining agreements, minimum conditions, unfair dismissal and other employment related matters under the state industrial relations system.

Information on the national workplace relations system for constitutional corporations is available on the Fair Work website or from the Fair Work info line 131 394.

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Understand your legal obligations in relation to...

If considering a subcontractor, note that different legal rights and obligations apply to employees and subcontractors.

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Taxation requirements include:

  • Registering as a PAYG withholding payer with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Registration can be completed on the ABN registration form.
  • Obtaining from your employees a completed tax file number declaration. Forms must be remitted to the ATO within 14 days of signing. Employees wishing to anticipate certain entitlements (e.g. the family tax benefit), will also need to provide you with a withholding declaration.
  • Keeping records relating to payments to employees and other workers for 5 years for the ATO. (There are other requirements under various awards and agreements).

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Workers' compensation insurance

Workers' compensation insurance cover is compulsory for all employees but cover is not available for sole traders or partners. Cover for working directors of proprietary companies is optional, and conditions apply.  

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Injury management system

Employers must have an injury management system in relation to their workers. The establishment, content and implementation of the system must be in accordance with the mandatory Workers' Compensation Code of Practice (Injury Management) 2005.

The Code and accompanying guidance notes, and simple templates for an injury management system and an injury management policy, are downloadable from the WorkCover website.

Information on workers' compensation, cover for working directors, avoidance agreements and injury management systems is available on the WorkCover WA website or contact the WorkCover WA Infoline on 1300 794 744.

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Thinksafe Small Business Assistance Program

If you are interested in having a free, confidential and independent safety assessment of your workplace and a simple safety action plan prepared for you, contact the Worksafe hotline 1800 429 273 or visit the Worksafe website  for more information.

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Construction long service leave

Construction leave employers must register with the Construction Industry Long Service Leave Board and pay compulsory contributions for workers every three months.

Long service leave in this scheme is based on service to the construction industry, rather than to a single employer.

Caution: Employment laws and regulations are complex. Don't be afraid to seek professional advice: you can't afford to make mistakes.

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