As a business owner or manager, it is your responsibility to be aware of and adhere to all relevant employment legislation that applies to your employees and your business.
With regular changes to employment law, knowing what to include in an employment contract and what type of contract to use is challenging. For example, do you know whether your contracts meet the National Employment Standards? Are you sure that your casual employees are not actually permanent part-timers?
It is vital to provide all employees with legally compliant and comprehensive Employment Contracts. This ensures employees are aware of their rights and entitlements, and will provide your business with protection and certainty.
It is also important that you understand the different types of employment. Permanent employees require different contract terms to that of a casual employee, who in turn would have different employment conditions to an employee on a fixed-term contract. We can advise what type of contract applies and ensure you have all relevant contract templates.
To ensure you start the employment relationship well, you with also need to provide new employees with ‘new starter' documentation, that includes all compliance and best practice documentation - i.e. Fair Work Information Statement, Casual Conversion Clause, Pre-existing Injury form, Tax Declaration form, Super Choice form and Bank & Personal Details forms.
Modern Awards outline the minimum terms and conditions of employment and sit on top of the National Employment Standards (NES).
Most employees are covered by an Award, except for some Managers and highly paid employees. We can help you determine what Award might be applicable to your employees.
We can also review and identify the appropriate classification within the relevant Award to help you determine the correct minimum pay rates to ensure every employee is being paid at or above Award rates.
Failing to provide employees with the correct level of pay & entitlements is amongst the most common mistakes employers make.
Trying to navigate and understand any Award is confusing. We can prepare a summary of the base minimum wage for each classification in the relevant Award, including penalties, overtime, allowances and loadings, so that you can be confident you are meeting your obligations.
Just because a worker has an ABN or invoices for payment doesn’t automatically mean they are an Independent Contractor.
If a worker is engaged as an Independent Contractor and is subsequently found to be an employee, you may be liable to back pay all entitlements, such as annual leave, superannuation, possible underpayment of wages, as well as incurring a financial penalty.
We can review any such arrangements and advise if the worker is an independent contractor or actually an employee. We also strongly recommend any independent contractor arrangements are captured in writing, with a robust independent contractor agreement.
Recently, in the highly publicised case of Made Establishment, Celebrity Chef George Calombaris’ business was required to back pay $2.6million to 162 employees due to underpayment of wages. The back pay equated to an average of $16,000 per employee. The error was attributed to poor processes and incorrect allocation of classifications against the relevant award.
Having to back pay underpayments is a costly process. However, in many cases the Fair Work Ombudsman has imposed further penalties against businesses in breach of minimum pays rates. These include fines, enforceable undertakings, regular audits with the business responsible for costs, reporting requirements as well as explicit media releases.