Employment Essentials for Business Owners

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What you need to know to successfully run a business

It is very exciting to venture into owning your own business. However, it can be very challenging to meet all of the legal regulations and requirements both as a new business and as your business grows. Before starting a small business of your own, it is imperative you understand the basic employment law requirements. 

The Acts

The first acts to become familiar with are the Fair Work Ombudsman’s Act and the Fair Work Act 2009. And while this is a voluminous undertaking, to be adequately educated you do not need to master the entirety of both acts. Instead, you need to be familiar with the most relevant and most regularly enforced areas of business regulations. 

This includes a full understanding of at least the following areas;

  • Employee status; at will, part-time, casual, permanent, independent contractor 
  • Payroll; frequency of payroll, setting wages, setting hours, overtime 
  • Payroll deductions including; all forms of state and federal taxes, benefits, superannuation
  • Earnings of paid time off; sick leave, holiday leave, personal leave, family leave, vacation time
  • Employment contracts for; employees, vendors, suppliers, buyers
  • Workplace safety regulations
  • Work place behavior; discrimination, harassment, proper use of technology 
  • Employee discipline procedures; warnings, written notices, employee interviews
  • Termination from employment; notice, final checks, cancellation of benefits, transfer of superannuation 
  • Workers’ Compensation; work related injuries and repetitive injuries, continued salary, medical needs
  • Medical and Health related benefits
  • Unemployment/Layoffs

The next act you should review is the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. This act governs the health and safety of all work environments and all employees. This act also focuses on reducing workplace risks that could cause an employee to be injured or become ill. Employers are required to report workplace incidents and to respond by making safety adjustments to ensure that accidents and injuries are not repeated. 

The third act you should be familiar with is the Disability Discrimination Act 1992. This act focuses on fair employment opportunities and fair workplace treatment for the disabled. This law applies to treating all persons with any form of a disability fairly.  

 

Financial Elements and Tax Obligations of a Business 

In order to comply with all of the financial elements of running a business and having employees, it is important to set your business up with the ability to meet all of your necessary tax obligations. This will require you to complete at least one, if not more, forms for tax identification numbers such as an Australian Business Number (ABN). 

In addition, if you sell goods or a service, you will need a goods and services tax number so that you can appropriate a percentage of the cost of your service or goods toward payment of this tax. You will also need a tax filing number or TFN. The type of TFN you will need is going to be dependent upon the type of business you run. Therefore, you will need to make sure that your TFN is correct for your business type.

Additionally, there are other non-mandatory registration options for your business name, or trademark that you create and use, or a website you might want to build to advertise your business. Each of these options can be investigated and considered as you continue to develop your business and hone in on your businesses demographic. 

Finally, you will need to familiarize yourself with the Fair Work Commission. This Commission undertakes handling various workplace issues including;

  1. Unfair dismissal
  2. Complaints of discrimination and/or harassment
  3. Unfair work practices
  4. Workplace disputes
  5. Contract issues

It is important to understand what happens if you or an employee or a contractor files a claim with the Fair Work Commission.

While opening and running a new business should be exciting and profitable, you cannot achieve that end without having a full understanding of the basic requirements of running a business. And while it is possible to work through all of the necessary regulatory and legal steps required to set up a new business and run it properly by yourself, it can be overwhelming. As such, it is highly recommended that as you move forward with setting up and opening your new business, you seek the advice and guidance of those who legally and financially specialize in such endeavors. 

If you find yourself in need of assistance with this, or any other legal issue, please contact the law offices of Owen Hodge Lawyers. At Owen Hodge, we are always happy to assist clients in understanding the full ramifications of any and all of your legal needs. Please feel free to call us at your earliest convenience to schedule a consultation at 1800 770 780.

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