3 Key Employer Obligations

12th December 2016

Guest Writer – Anthony Lieu from LegalVision

All employers have legal obligations they must fulfil for their employees, including the provision of a number of entitlements and benefits. Entitlements may vary depending on the nature of the employment relationship (for example, a casual worker compared to a full-time employee).  This article explores three legal obligations for employers: leave, superannuation and employment contracts.

Leave Entitlements
Employers have a legal responsibility to provide annual leave for all employees, excluding casual workers. Full-time and part-time workers can claim up to four weeks of annual leave (based on their ordinary hours of work) and shift workers may be entitled to up to five weeks per working year.

Annual leave accumulates gradually during the year, from the first day of employment, even during probation periods. Annual leave also accumulates when an employee takes long service, community service or paid leave. However, unpaid sick leave, unpaid annual leave and unpaid parental leave (inclusive of the government’s paid parental leave scheme) do not count towards leave.

Superannuation Entitlements
If an employee earns more than $450 (before tax) per month, their employer is obliged to pay the minimum amount of superannuation (known as the super guarantee). This super is calculated at a rate of 9.5% of an employee’s ordinary time earnings and is paid at least quarterly.

In some circumstances, an employer may be exempted from paying super.  This can be where an employee is:

• under 18 years of age and works for less than 30 hours a week;
• a non-resident employee who carries out work for a business abroad; or
• working in Australia and are covered by a bilateral super agreement.

Employment Contracts
Employment contracts are legally binding and set out the terms and conditions of the employment relationship. Employers must issue employment contracts to all employees when they join. Each employment contract will differ, so it is important to have an employment lawyer review the contract. An employment contract must meet the minimum standards under the National Employment Standards (NES) or any awards or enterprise agreements that apply.

Employment contracts will include clauses such as:
• Whether the contract is fixed-term or maximum term;
• Whether an employee is full-term or part-time;
• The employee’s wages; and
• The employee’s working hours

It is also common for employers to include accompanying documents with an employment agreement, such as staff handbooks and company policies.

Key Takeaways
Leave, superannuation entitlements and employment contracts form a crucial part of the suite of legal obligations for employers. Each employment relationship is unique and as such, employers must be aware of their obligations under the law for all their employees.  If you have any questions about employment contracts, entitlements or contracts, get in touch with LegalVision in how start-ups operate at all stages and navigating the myriad of legal issues surrounding online businesses.

Author Bio:  Anthony is a lawyer and the Head of Marketing at LegalVision.  He has a keen interest in startup law, IT law and scaling fast-growing businesses. He has a strong understanding in how start-ups operate at all stages and navigating the myriad of legal issues surrounding online businesses.

This article featured in the November Edition of Paeds Biz.

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