One of the key challenges for small business owners engaging others in the business is to understand and comply with legislative requirements. Here’s the essential “HR stuff” you need to know:

National Employment Standards:

The National Employment Standards (NES) prescribe minimum terms and conditions of employment for those covered by the Fair Work Act (which is just about everyone). The 10 standards outline the requirements relevant to a range of matters including maximum hours of work, the right to request flexible work arrangements , leave (parental leave, annual leave, personal/carer’s and compassionate leave, long service leave, community service leave), public holidays, notice & redundancy pay and provision of the Fair Work Information Statement.

Modern Awards

Additional minimum employment terms and conditions (including minimum wages, hours of work arrangements, overtime requirements and allowances), are outlined in applicable modern awards.

Most employees will be covered by one of the 120 or so industry or occupation awards, all of which can be reviewed via It’s important that you identify those award(s) may apply to your employees and that you comply with requirements.

Letter of appointmentIt’s recommended that you provide all employees with a letter of appointment or contract outlining the key terms and conditions of their employment, including the details of any award or agreement that they may be covered by and their classification under that award or agreement. If you have employees that are not covered by an award or agreement, they will need a more comprehensive contract.

Compulsory superannuation contributions

As an employer, you generally need to make compulsory superannuation contributions (on top of wages), to employees paid $450 or more (before tax) in a calendar month.Compulsory contributions are currently 9.5% of ordinary time earnings.

Payslips and Record-Keeping

Employers need to issue employees with compliant payslips (yes, there are laws about what information needs to be included on a payslip!), and also retain certain information about employees (eg. payments made, leave records).

Employee terminations and redundancies

Another potential risk for small business employers relates to employee terminations. Whether the termination is a result of poor performance, misconduct or redundancy, you need to be sure you meet your legislative obligations to ensure that the termination is fair and reasonable. This will generally mean effectively consulting with the employee(s) involved, providing the minimum period of notice and any payments due on termination.It’s best to seek professional advice relevant to your particular situation.

Need further information or support?

Call us on 1300 783 211 or email [email protected]This article provides general information only, is not exhaustive and may not apply in all cases. This information should not be regarded as legal advice. If you are unsure, you should seek advice relating to your specific situation.