Can I employ staff?
Sole trader and company
Yes, you can employ staff as both a sole trader and company business structure.
Although sole traders 'trade' or operate the business on their own, this doesn't mean they have to work on their own - sole traders can employ staff to work for them.
However, like any business owner regardless of structure, you have to ensure you meet all your legal obligations when employing people. As an employer you need to be aware of the entitlements of the staff you employ, as they are different for casual, part-time and full-time staff.
You can employ people under different employment types such as casual, permanent, part-time, full-time. Some types offer more flexibility for workers, while others provide more security for the business.
If you employ people, you must pay a minimum of 9.5% of their ordinary time earnings as Super Guarantee (SG) contributions. This doesn’t include independent contractors.
Note: Super Guarantee contributions will change over time and you should check the latest rate.
As a director:
- You have a legal responsibility to ensure your company meets its Pay As You Go (PAYG) withholding and Super Guarantee Charge (SGC) amounts.
- You are personally liable for unpaid PAYG and SGC.
- Visit our What duties/responsibilities do I have? page for more on your obligations as a director around PAYG and SGC.
What are my responsibilities as an employer?
Here are some of your legal obligations when employing people:
- Ensure you only employ people that can legally to work in Australia - Australian citizens, permanent residents or workers that have the right working visa.
- Take out personal & workers insurance - to protect your employees and customers in the event of a workplace accident which causes an injury or illness.
- Comply with Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) regulations - to ensure you're providing a safe work environment.
- Pay super to your employees - in most cases, if you pay an employee $450 or more (before tax) in a calendar month, they are entitled to super. This is paid on top of their before-tax income.
You are also responsible for:
- taking out personal & workers insurance to protect your employees in the event of an accident or sickness
- adhering to Workplace Health and Safety regulations, particularly those relevant to your industry
- ensuring your staff are Australian citizens, permanent citizens or have a visa that makes them eligible to work in Australia.