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Contracts & Awards

Your Challenges

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? 

Your Risks:
  • Penalties for breaches of the Fair Work Act are $12,600 for an individual and $63,000 for a corporation.

  • If your employees aren't paid in accordance with the relevant Award, you could be liable to back-pay wages and entitlements.

  • Without employment contracts in place, your business could be exposed in areas such as confidentiality, intellectual property protection and restraint of trade.

  • If you are unaware of what constitutes someone being an independent contractor, you may be at risk of ‘sham contracting’, which can attract significant penalties.

Our Solutions

Employment Contracts
  • Provide protection and certainty for your business and ensure compliance with the Fair Work Act, NES, any applicable Award or Agreement.
Independent Contractor Agreements
  • Formalise any independent contractor and freelancer engagements.
Award Summaries & Pay Guides
  • Provide a summary of pay and other entitlements, to ensure you understand your obligations to meet the minimum requirements.
‘New Starter’ Packs
  • Provide compliant and best practice documentation to all new employees - i.e. Fair Work Information Statement, Employee & Payroll Details forms, etc.

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Employment Contracts

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, we will provide you with a ‘New Starter Pack’, that includes all compliance and best practice documentation for your new employees  - 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

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.

Award Summaries & Pay Guides

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.

Independent Contractors

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.

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Case Study

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.

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