Employer obligations

Employing staff means meeting a number of legal obligations. Before employing staff, you need to have an understanding of:

Determine which industrial relations system you belong to

In Western Australia, businesses may belong to either the state industrial relations system or the national system. Your obligations will differ depending on which system applies to your business

Learn more about the industrial relations systems and how to determine which system applies to your business.

Equal opportunity laws

When recruiting staff it is unlawful to discriminate based on gender, age, marital status, religion, race, impairment, pregnancy, family status etc.

Find out more about your obligations from the Equal Opportunity Commission.

Pay and employment conditions

You can avoid costly mistakes by understanding the required pay and employment conditions.

If you are in the state system, contact Wageline for more information.
If you are in the national system, contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for more information.

Tax and superannuation

You will be required to report employee earnings to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO); collect pay as you go withholding (PAYG), report fringe benefit tax (FBT) and contribute to employee superannuation funds.

You may also be required to pay payroll tax.

The ATO has information regarding PAYG, FBT and superannuation payments.
Check out the short videos from the ATO regarding your employer obligations.

The Department of Finance can provide information about payroll tax .

TIP: The Small Business Superannuation Clearing House is a free service you can use if you are a business with 19 or fewer employees, or have an annual aggregated turnover of $2 million or less.

A data and payment standard called SuperStream has been introduced by the ATO. All businesses must be compliant with SuperStream. The clearing house can assist you.

Keeping employment records

These could include timesheets, payslips and pay summaries, tax file declarations, and superannuation payments.

Time and wages records must be kept for seven years.

If you are in the state system, information and templates are available from the Department of Commerce.
If you are in the national system, information and templates are available from the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Leave entitlements

In addition to annual or sick leave you also need to understand your obligations regarding staff long service leave and parental leave.

More information is available from the Department of Commerce (State system) or the Fair Work Ombudsman (national system).

TIP: In Western Australia you must comply with the state long service leave requirements regardless of which industrial relations system your staff come under. The construction industry has particular long service leave requirements.

You may also need to make payments to eligible staff under the Commonwealth Paid Parental Leave Scheme.

Ensuring a safe workplace

You are legally obliged to ensure a safe workplace and look after the health and safety of your employees and customers. Penalties can apply if you do not meet your Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) obligations.

WorkSafe WA is responsible for overseeing workplace safety in Western Australia.

To understand your OHS obligations further and to download templates to use within your business see WorkSafe WA.

Ensure that you have workers’ compensation insurance

You are legally required to have workers’ compensation insurance for your staff, including contractors and any family members who work in your business. This insurance is mandatory if you employ people.

You are legally required to have workers’ compensation insurance for your staff, including contractors and any family members who work in your business. This insurance is mandatory if you employ people.

To understand more about the your obligations visit the WorkCover WA website.
Download and read the employer publications produced by WorkCover WA.

Injury management

You are legally obliged to have a documented injury management system that outlines the steps to be followed if an injury occurs in your workplace. Penalties can apply if you fail to meet this obligation

WorkCover WA has information and templates to help you to create an injury management system.