As any business owner would know, hiring a new employee is a process. With workplaces within Australia being governed by the Fair Work Act 2009, employers can easily become overwhelmed and rush into the hiring process without ticking all the boxes.

Over the coming weeks we will be detailing the correct steps and approach for businesses to take when attracting, hiring, and completing onboarding and inductions for new employees.

Step One: Knowing the Law

This is our largest, but most important step that will provide the foundation for all other steps to come.

Depending on your business, you may be governed by multiple laws and legislation’s that will all play a part in determining factors such as employee entitlements, pay rates, classifications and workplace rights. A list of law and legislation’s to be mindful of are listed below.

The National Employment Standards (NES)

There are 10 National Employment Standards that apply to all employees in the National System which cover a range of employment conditions. These include various types of leave, pay entitlements relating to certain circumstances, information on working hours, flexible working arrangements and more. For a comprehensive list, please contact one of our advisors.

Awards and Agreements

Modern Awards and Enterprise Agreements are documents that set out the employment entitlements depending on your industry or workplace. A Modern Award sets the minimum conditions for an industry, where an Enterprise Agreement, when approved by the Fair Work Commission, applies solely to a workplace and is applied instead of a Modern Award.

There are also Award/Agreement free employees which are covered by the NES.


Employees must be paid at least the minimum wage provided in their award of agreement. If they are not covered by an award or agreement, they must be paid at least the national minimum wage. Rates are calculated based on an employee’s duties and other factors such as age and qualifications.

Record-keeping and pay slips

Employers must keep written time and wage records for each employee. This includes records about their employment including:

  • Personal details
  • Employment dates
  • Pay
  • Overtime records
  • Hours of work
  • Leave
  • Superannuation contributions
  • Termination records
  • Flexible work arrangements

These records must be kept on file for at least 7 years. Employees must also be issued a pay slip within one day of paying their wages.


Discrimination in the workplace is illegal, and it is an employee right to feel safe at work. Employees and potential employees cannot be discriminated against because of their:

  • Age
  • Race
  • Sexual preference
  • Physical or mental disability
  • Marital status
  • Family or carers responsibility
  • Pregnancy
  • Religion
  • Political opinion
  • Social origin

Taxation and Superannuation

Employers need to meet tax obligations for all workers. This includes PAYG withholding and superannuation on behalf of their employees. Some employers will also have to pay payroll tax when their total wages exceed a certain level called the ‘exemption threshold’.

Workplace health & safety and workers compensation

As an employer, you are responsible for providing a healthy and safe working environment for your employees. You also need to pay workers compensation insurance for your employees.

For more information on the above or to find out what laws apply to your employees, contact our consultants today!