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Start the right way – tips for hiring new staff

Hiring employees can be stressful. What paperwork do you need? What do you need to pay? Full time, part time or casual?

This is the time to make sure you have all your ducks lined up. Not only will this protect you and your business, but it will also give your new employees a great first impression. 

It’s not only time to get the contract and documentation right for your new employee, but also to create, review and update your HR policies and procedures to ensure you are, and continue to be, compliant and meet your legal employment obligations. 

While it may sound like it is a difficult and time-consuming task, taking the time to ensure that you have the correct documentation and procedures in place will help save you time (and potentially money) down the track should issues arise. 

To assist with this process, Kerrie Canning and Sally Garner from HR Advice Online have prepared the following checklist of key steps to take: 

1. Review your employment agreements and onboarding documentation

This is a perfect time to review your record keeping practices and to ensure your employment agreements are current and up to date. 

Some questions to consider are: 

  • Do all of your employees have a documented employment agreement in place? 
  • Do your employment agreements detail all required elements from the applicable modern award or industrial instrument? 
  • Do your employment agreements expressly state the minimum notice period that needs to be given in the event of termination? (Note: this should be at least equal to the minimum amount specified in the National Employment Standards and/or the applicable modern award). 

If you have any employees who are paid an annualised salary: 

  • Does their employment agreement clearly identify which entitlements have been included within their annualised salary arrangement? 
  • Have the annualised salary arrangements been reviewed to ensure that the Better Off Overall Test remains is satisfied. (Note: such salary arrangements should be reviewed at minimum annually) 

Are new employees being provided with the most recent version of the Fair Work Information Statement? 

When was the last time you reviewed your recording keeping practices?

2. Modern Award or Agreement Compliance

A large proportion of employees in Australia are covered by a modern award or workplace agreement. As such, you need to ensure that: 

  • You are meeting your minimum obligations under the applicable award or industrial agreement. This includes: 

– Minimum rates of pay, 

– Relevant overtime and penalty rates, 

– Applicable allowances, 

  • Application of meal break 
  • The appropriate award and position classification level has been identified for each employee 
  • You remain familiar with the applicable awards and any communicated updates or changes to ensure ongoing compliance. 
  • Annual award wage increases are applied. 

Ensure that all workplace agreements meet the minimum obligations.

3. Workplace Policies and Procedures

Workplace policies and procedures can provide a number of benefits for employers, including helping employees know what is expected of them, setting guidelines for employees and can help provide protection from breaches of employment legislation. 

  • Ensure that you have policies in place that cover key employment areas, including: 

– Discrimination/bullying/harassment 

– Workplace Health and Safety 

– Drug/alcohol use 

– Social media usage 

– Internet/email usage 

– Motor vehicle usage 

– Performance management 

  • Ensure that your policies and procedures have been communicated to all employees and that a copy of the documents are available for all employees to review. 
  • Ensure that your policy manual and employment agreement documentation make it clear that: 

– The policies may be reviewed and amended by the employer from time to time, and that 

  • The policies do not create contractual entitlements upon which employees can rely. 

Workplace policies and procedures set guidelines for employees and can help provide protection from breaches of employment legislation.

4. Educate and Train Your Employees

While having up to date policies in place is a must have, steps need to be taken to ensure that your employees know what to do with them and what is required to comply. 

  • Regular compliance training should be conducted with your employees to assist with managing potential legal risks. 
  • Consideration should be given to the frequency of when you last undertook: 

– Sexual Harassment training* 

– Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination training* 

– Training in Workplace Health and Safety requirements 

 

Information in HR Advice Online guides and blog posts is meant purely for educational discussion of human resources issues. It contains only general information about human resources matters and due to factors, such as government legislation changes, may not be up to date at the time of reading. It is not legal advice and should not be treated as such. 

Sexual harassment and bullying training should be conducted every two years.


Meet our Local Expert: Kerrie Canning – HR Advice Online

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Kerrie is a co-founder of HR Advice Online.  As an experienced Human Resources and Organisational Development professional, Kerrie brings over 20 years experience working both within organisations and as an external consultant on cultural change, leadership development, recruitment and selection and coaching. Her experience includes professional services, local government, publishing, printing and financial services.

Meet our Local Expert: Sally Garner

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Sally joined as a Co-owner and partner in 2020.  Sally has over 20 years’ experience in Human Resources with a strong focus on Recruitment Services and Leadership.  Sally’s expertise spans across industries including Healthcare, government, finance, education, and small to medium enterprises. Sally has focused on creating cultures of collaboration, coaching and mentoring, whilst supporting managers in leadership and change.

Content reviewed and updated November 2023

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