Employing staff means meeting a number of legal obligations.

Before employing staff, you need understand the following areas.

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.

    Action to take

    Visit the ATO's online learning platform essentials to strengthen your small business to access free short courses in hiring and paying workers, super guarantee and more.

    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 and short videos about your employer obligations.

    The Department of Finance can provide information about payroll tax.

    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.


    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 less than $10 million.

    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 Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety. 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 Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (State system) or the Fair Work Ombudsman (national system).


    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 Work Health and Safety (WHS) obligations.

    WorkSafe WA is responsible for overseeing workplace safety in Western Australia. To understand your WHS obligations and 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.

    To understand more about 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.