Employers – get smart about your needs

Growth is obviously important to small business – and hiring employees is one way to grow quickly. But whether they’ve ventured down the path of hiring and firing or just heard about it from other colleagues, the compliance maze can be overwhelming and an impediment to business growth.

So over the next couple of articles Small Biz Matters will help you disentangle some the maze of regulations, compliance and due diligence requirements.

Let’s firstly look at engaging with employees.


  • Start with a solid job description. It both helps you to get straight about what you expect from the employee and helps to choose the right candidate. Check out the employment websites to build your own.
  • Nearly all workers in Australia are covered by a Modern Award; with over 122 options, it’s likely your new employee will be covered by one. It’s not just about minimum wages but also conditions including allowances and entitlements.
  • All new employees must be given a copy of the National Employment Standards before they begin. You can get this via the FairWork Commission: www.fairwork.gov.au
  • Although it’s not a legal requirement, you’d be mad to hire anyone without an employment contract to protect both you and the employee. It includes rates of pay, terms and conditions of work and forms a binding legal agreement to which both parties agree. www.legalvision.com.au  has free downloads.


  • According to Safework NSW (formerly WorkCover NSW) as an employer “you are responsible for the health and safety of those in your workplace, including visitors. And, if you’re self-employed, you’re responsible for your own safety and the safety of others.” So equipment and the work environment must be properly maintained, contain adequate facilities, you must provide training, and then consult with all parties to identify hazards and assess risks along the way (including other business owners, employees and Safework NSW themselves.) www.safework.nsw.gov.au.
  • A solid induction procedure should include a ‘walk through’ to indicate emergency exits, first aid kit location, facilities like the kitchen, and how to report a workplace incident or near miss
  • It’s a great idea to have a Staff Manual which accompanies the employment agreement. It covers employment aspects such as confidentiality, social media use, punctuality and appropriate dress, and helps to set expectations from your new employees. Although not legally binding, you should ask the new employee to read and sign it and have a sentence in your employment contract that links the two documents. Remember to include the fact that the Staff Manual can change.


  • If there was ever a time to get set up on accounting software, it’s before hiring employees. If you’ve been happily using spreadsheets, they’re not going to cut it. You must issue payslips, end of year payment summaries and pay employees correctly and on time.
  • All employees (and some contractors) must be paid 9.5% super into their super fund, and since 1st July 2016 all employers needed to have SuperStream, meaning payments must be electronically lodged.
  • You may think you can engage with someone as a contractor instead of employing them but first check the ATO’s employee versus contractor survey tool to help you determine this. www.ato.gov.au

There are lots of great resources online and you can always listen to Small Biz each week for lots of great tips and tricks like these!

_____________________________________________________________________Alexi Boyd is a business owner and presenter of Small Biz Matters, Triple H 100.1FM, Tues 9AM. Check out www.smallbizmatters. com for podcasts and local networking opportunities. It’s the half hour radio program where you work ON your business rather than IN it.

Leave a Reply