Businesses that are thinking about taking on new employees in
the New Year should consider some of the key elements of a
productive employment relationship.
Whilst each situation is different, here are the top 5 questions
we consider to be useful to ask:
WHAT TYPE OF EMPLOYMENT RELATIONSHIP OR ENGAGEMENT IS
APPROPRIATE FOR YOUR SITUATION?
For instance, if your business owns valuable intellectual
property or confidential information, it may be best to engage your
works as employees so that you can have maximum benefit from
clauses directing ownership and control over these pieces of
Typically, it is harder to restrict contractors from using this
information post engagement.
DO YOU NEED A FULL TIME EMPLOYEE? OR IS A PART TIME OR
CASUAL ARRANGEMENT MORE APPROPRIATE?
When businesses start up, often the parties are wary of
committing to any long term agreement – and for good
Who knows what the business will look like 12 months from now?
Just be certain that if you do choose the casual employment path,
that you regularly review the arrangement for its ongoing
WHAT ARE THE MINIMUM STANDARDS AND CONDITIONS THAT
APPLY TO THE EMPLOYMENT RELATIONSHIP?
All Australian employees are covered by the National Employment
Standards found in the Fair Work Act, but there may be additional
criteria that need to be met in any one of the 122 Modern Awards
that may also apply in your industry or to your workers.
If you have never considered whether an Award covers your
business or your staff, you should definitely add that to your
"to do" list in 2016.
HAVE YOU GO THE RIGHT SYSTEMS IN PLACE TO ISSUE
PAYSLIPS, ENSURE APPROPRIATE ACCOUNTING OF TAX AND SUPERANNUATION,
RECORD LEAVE BALANCES AND LEAVE TAKEN, HOURS WORKED AND ANY
The Fair Work Act makes provision for information that must be
given to the employees about their pay and details how long records
must be kept. There are penalties for non compliance, so it is
worth paying attention to the record keeping aspects of
RECORD THE KEY TERMS IN WRITING
It is surprising how often people enter into employment
relationships without putting the basics down on paper –
things like rate of pay, hours of work expected, entitlement such
as leave, phone/car access and other bonuses, and most importantly,
how the parties intend to deal with the end of the
Usually, in the rush to get staff on board, no one is interested
in thinking about what might happen if the relationship ends, but
as with any good prenuptial, a little bit of planning at the outset
goes a long way if the worst does happen.
Thinking about these matters at the start of an employment
relationship, and making the rules clear at the outset, is likely
to save considerable grief, cost and time both during and at the
end of the employment as everyone know where they stand.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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An employee that refused a reasonable offer of settlement was ordered by the FWC to pay his ex-employer's legal costs.
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