In recent weeks we have taken on several new clients who all present with a common problem. They have – with the best of intentions – ‘borrowed’ or have been ‘provided’ with sample employment contracts from friends/other businesses/ their accountant etc. Almost universally their documentation has been non compliant in key areas or lacking crucial protections for them as employers.
Workwise would not consider offering taxation, financial or insurance advice to clients yet it seems a common practice for many consultant services – with limited experience in the industrial relations arena – to proffer advice and documentation in relation to engagement and employment of staff.
Our employment documentation has been rigorously constructed with a view to both the State and Federal jurisdictions and is backed by our knowledge and experience in this arena. Employers should be cautious when utilising employment documentation ‘borrowed’ from or ‘provided’ by other businesses or consultant services – of whatever field – who themselves have limited practical knowledge in this sphere of legislative compliance.
Employers need to be mindful that the compliance regime from an industrial relations perspective can be very different from a tax or financial accounting perspective. To this end employers should ensure that they are familiar with requirements under the Fair Work Act and the Modern Awards. In particular the use of independent contractors may expose employers to potential breaches of legislation with regard to workplace and industrial law and we would strongly advise that all aspects of engaging contractors be thoroughly explored prior to engagement.
A knowledge of the legislation that underpins employment and how this interacts with your documentation is pivotal in providing documentation that is not flawed in some fundamental way. Ignorance of Award entitlements and employment conditions can be compounded in an employment contract that is poorly written or out of date, and this in turn can lead to breaches of the Act and underpayment of staff whether you are a State based or Federal system employer.
Please take the time to have your documentation evaluated and reassure yourself that you have protections in place for you and your staff.
Call us to discuss if you have any concerns or queries in this regard.