Previously published in Hotel News (March 2016) official magazine of the Australian Hotels Association NSW

As NSW hoteliers would be aware, the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) places heavy compliance responsibilities on employers, especially when it comes to hiring and inducting new staff. If you don’t pay attention to the details, you could find yourself in hot water. In addition to statutory obligations, there are a number or core “best practice” measures that we recommend all employers should ensure are followed (at a minimum) when employing a new staff member.

Using the following checklist will help to ensure that things run smoothly.

Step 1: Employment Contract

Issue the employee with a written employment contract (ideally before the employee starts work) and ensure the employee returns a signed copy of the employment contract.

If you do not have a signed copy of a written contract that clearly specifies the agreed terms and conditions of employment:

  • disputes over terms of engagement and what was understood / agreed are more likely to arise
  • it may be difficult for you to manage the employee if there are performance or conduct issues
  • it may be harder for you to dismiss the employee if expectations are not met
  • it will be harder to show you have complied with Award obligations (if applicable) to inform the employee of their terms of engagement.

Step 2: Issue the Employee with the Essential Paperwork

Ensure the new employee is provided with the following documents:

  • Tax File Number Declaration Form (which needs to be lodged with the ATO within 14 days of being signed or completed by you)
  • Superannuation Details Form
  • Bank Account Details Form
  • Fair Work Information Statement (FWIS)
  • FWIS acknowledgement form
  • Employee Handbook or similar (or copies of core employment policies)

It is important to be aware that employers are required by law to provide all employees who start work on or after 1 January 2010 with a FWIS, which provides information on core rights and entitlements under the Fair Work Act.

You should also make sure all the above documents (including the FWIS acknowledgement form) are returned to you and that you have placed all the employee’s paperwork in a secure personnel file, or within a permanent secure online record management system. Wherever possible, ensure that the employee signs as having received and understood these materials before, or at, the time of commencement.

Step 3: Qualifications and Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) Induction

  • Ensure you have up-to-date confirmation of the employee’s RSA and/or RCG certification
  • If necessary, ensure that the employee can confirm their right to work in Australia
  • Provide the employee with a copy of your company’s WHS policy (and an acknowledgement of receipt)
  • Instruct the employee on how to report a hazard in the workplace
  • Ensure (at a minimum) the employee is aware of fire exits, fire equipment and first aid facilities
  • Inform the employee about the first aid officer and/or who to contact for assistance in the case of an emergency