Your business is up and running, but you know you can’t go it alone so you’ve decided to take that big step and become an employer. What are the things you need to think about when you’ve found the perfect employee?

Every employee must be given a written statement of the main terms and conditions of his or her employment within two months of commencing the role. That written statement must contain at a minimum:

  • the employer’s and employee’s full name;
  • the employer’s address;
  • the place of work, or where there is no main place of work, a statement indicating that an employee is required or permitted to work at various places;
  • the employee’s job title or a description of the nature of his or her work;
  • the date the employment will commence;
  • if the contract is temporary, the expected duration of employment;
  • if the contract is for a fixed-term, the date on which the contract expires;
  • the rate of pay or a method of calculating pay;
  • the employee’s right to a written statement on request of the average hourly rate of pay for any reference period;
  • whether the employee is to be paid weekly, monthly or otherwise;
  • terms relating to hours of work, including overtime;
  • terms relating to paid leave (other than paid sick leave);
  • terms relating to incapacity for work due to sickness or injury;
  • terms relating to pensions and pension schemes;
  • periods of notice or a method for determining periods of notice; and
  • a reference to any collective agreements which affect the terms of employment.

In addition to the above minimum requirements, we recommend that an employment contract also includes a probationary period, non-compete restrictions and IP/data protection provisions.

Ideally an employer should also have a tailored Employee Handbook setting out the company’s detailed HR policies and procedures. However, at a minimum an employer must have the following:

  • a Health & Safety Policy;
  • a Grievance Policy;
  • a Disciplinary Policy; and
  • a Bullying & Harassment Policy.

While the early stages of running a business can be by their nature cost-sensitive, an employment contract and an Employee Handbook addressing the above-mentioned matters for all staff members is a prudent investment.

Want to know more? The Workplace Relations Commission has produced helpful guidance on employment law which you can access here.