Employing people

Good employees can be your greatest asset, so recruiting and retaining the right people is very important to your business success.

Your employees create value and can generate a return on investment for your business. For this to happen however, both the needs of the business and the individual need to be met. This requires an understanding of the legal obligations for you and your employees, along with ways to maximise the skills of your workforce.

Whether you are new to business or have a number of staff working for you, the following are important areas to consider when employing and managing your staff.

Hiring staff is an important step for new businesses, and can allow existing businesses to meet customer demand. There are a number of factors you need to consider when hiring staff. Deciding on their employment status and finding out what requirements there are for the status you choose is just one of these. Before you hire staff, you'll also need to be aware of your responsibilities as an employer.

The Fair Work Act 2009 sets out the rights and obligations sets of employees and employers covered by the national workplace relations system. This includes things like the ten National Employment Standards which apply to all employees in the national system, modern awards and minimum wages.

The Fair Work Ombudsman's Small business page has a range of information about your responsibilities as an employer under the Fair Work Act 2009, including the Fair Work Handbook (DOC 230KB). The Fair Work Ombudsman has also published some employment templates to help you through the hiring process.

Employment types

Staff can be employed under a number of categories. Some categories offer more flexibility for workers, while others provide more security for the business. Choosing to employ staff under different categories can maintain flexibility in your workforce while also meeting the needs of the business. Choose a structure for each staff member that suits the business and the employee.

Each category places a different set of obligations for you and your staff. Below are the most common employee types:

  • full-time - generally employees work between 38 - 40 hours per week, with 8 hours per day/5 days a week.
  • part-time - employees work less than 38 hours per week, with a guaranteed minimum number of hours.
  • casual - employees work hours may vary per week, depending on the work available.
  • fixed term - employees are generally employed for a fix period of time.

To properly determine your obligations as an employer, it's important for you to distinguish if your workers are employees or independent contractors. This will help in determining wages and other conditions.

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