Last week I spoke about what your steps should be leading up to employing staff. Then at my Mentoring Group this week we talked about what you needed to know about employing people under the Fairwork Act. When you really look into what you are meant to know it can be quite scary for the average Employer.
The FairWork Australia has an awesome website that if you had the time to explore, you could learn lots of things. When I was exploring the website myself I came across two checklists that I would recommend everyone downloads and fills in. Once you have filled them in you can then work on finding out all the information that you don’t know at the time of doing the checklist.
National Employment Standards
How is your knowledge on the National Employment Standards? Did you even know they existed? Do you know how they affect you and your staff? Well I highly suggest that you take the time to work though the National Workplace Relations Employer Checklist so you can discover what you know and what you need to learn. The other checklist that is a good one to undertake is the Self-audit checklist.
The National Employment Standards set out the minimum conditions of which you much employ people under. You can read about them in more detail on their website, but basically they cover:
- Maximum weekly hours of work
- Requests for flexible working arrangements
- Parental leave and related entitlements
- Annual leave
- Personal/carer’s leave and compassionate leave
- Community service leave
- Long service leave
- Public holidays
- Notice of termination and redundancy pay
- Provision of a Fair Work Information Statement
Even if you have a bookkeeper or someone else doing your payroll/HR each week/fortnight etc, I would strongly suggest that you become familiar with these standards as well.
Awards or Agreements
What do you employ under an award or an agreement? Do you know the difference? Modern Awards were introduced on 1st January 2010 and replaced most awards and agreements that were in place. They were created to establish one set of minimum conditions for employers and employees across Australia who work in the same industries or occupations.
Let me tell you as someone who was doing payroll duties well before the Modern Awards were introduced, it was so hard to try and work out what award your staff were paid under prior to 2010. Once the Modern awards were introduced, my life become easier J
To find out what award you should be employing under got to the Fairwork website and click on the Award tab, then look up your industry. Every award that is listed on the website will have the hourly rates in which you need to pay your staff. I am not telling you to read the award and know it back to front, but you do need to have a fair understanding of what is in the award so that if an issue arises you can go straight to the award and solve it.
The awards also cover the following information:
- Correct penalty rates
- Casual loadings (if any)
- Overtime payments
- Meal breaks
- And the list goes on
Time and Wage Records
Businesses who employ staff are required to maintain accurate and complete records for all their employees and to issue pay slips to every employee. I would strongly advise that you download and read the fact sheet on Employer obligations in relation to employee records and pay slips.
This fact sheet helps you better understand what are the record-keeping obligations; what information must be made and kept in employee records and quite a bit more.
So over the next week or two take some time to click on all the links in this article and learn more about your obligations as an employer. You and your staff will be much better off for you spending this time.
Question: What concerns you most about employing staff?