Making sure that your business complies with its obligations as an employer is a job that is not only worth doing, it is worth doing right. 

Employers spend a lot of time reviewing the performance of their employees. Whether it be in an attempt to increase organisational productivity or to maintain specific working standards.
Although have you ever considered doing a performance review of yourself as an employer? There is a myriad of different legislation that either directly or indirectly impacts the relationship between the employee and employer. This results in a long list of often complex and obscure obligations that employers have to navigate when employing workers. Obligations which, if not adhered to, can lead to significant legal penalties.

Is it time to conduct a Performance Review of your Business?

Taking on an employee in your business can be a daunting task, particularly if your business is small or you don’t have dedicated HR staff to provide proper inductions and training. Whether you are thinking about hiring an employee for the first time or already have a workforce, it might be time to conduct a ‘performance review’ of your business to make sure that you are complying with all the applicable State and Federal laws.
For the first 5 steps on our checklist please follow the link here, below are steps 6-10 of our checklist (for employers in South Australia):

6. Do you know your tax obligations?

As an employer, you need to become familiar with your tax obligations, including PAYG withholding (PAYG), Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) and Payroll Tax. These obligations require you to prepare certain documents and submit reports by specific deadlines.  To gain a basic understanding of your PAYG and FBT obligations, visit the Australian Taxation Office websiteand (in relation to Payroll Tax) the RevenueSA website. It may also be prudent to seek specific accounting advice.

7. Do you know your superannuation obligations?

If you employ (or contract) anyone 18 y.o.a. or older and pay them $450 or more before tax each month, then you may be required to make regular contributions to a superannuation fund chosen by your employee.  The current employer super guarantee contribution rate (According to the ATO website) is 9.5% (originally 9%). Visit the Australian Taxation website for more basic information and seek specific legal and accounting advice as required.

8. Provision for Leave Entitlements

It is important that you have a clear understanding of your employee’s leave entitlements. These entitlements may include annual leave, personal/carer’s leave, compassionate leave, parental leave, community service leave and long service leave (which, in South Australia accrues under the Long Service Leave Act 1987 (SA)).
As a business, it is good practice to put money aside for these entitlements on a continuing basis, to ensure that you can meet your obligations when they arise. For more information, visit the ‘Leave’ page on the Fair Work Ombudsman website.

9. Are you maintaining appropriate records?

Your business is required to keep proper records in relation to each employee including prescribed records in respect to their:
  • pay (Note: Payslips must contain certain prescribed information and must be issued to employees within 1 day of payment);
  • hours of work;
  • employment status;
  • leave accruals and entitlements;
  • superannuation contributions;
  • commencement date & (if applicable) date of termination of employment; and
  • other records such as individual flexibility agreements.
Most records must be in English, legible and be kept for a minimum of 7 years. You may be required to produce the above records for inspection in the event a Fair Work Inspector attends at your business.
There is a number of helpful (and compliant) templates available on the Fair Work Ombudsman website here.
If you are unsure about the records that your business must keep or your obligations if a Fair Work Inspector evaluates your business, you can find more information on the Fair Work Ombudsman website and in need seek specific legal advice.

10. Does you workplace comply with Discrimination & Equal Opportunity laws?

South Australian employers are covered by both State and Federal anti-discrimination laws. As an employer you have a responsibility to ensure that your workplace is free from unlawful discrimination & harassment. For more basic information, visit the Equal Opportunity Commission website. 
If you are an established business employing over 100 employees, then you may be required to submit an annual report to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency.  For more information on whether your business needs to report, visit WGEA’s website for more information.
As an Employer, there are many different laws and regulations that impact upon your relationship with your employees. As you are conducting your ‘Performance Review’ make a list of anything that needs further review or investigation and be sure to seek specific advice. This is one job that is not only worth doing, it is worth doing right.

For further information, please contact the author.

This article is posted in Adelaide, South Australia by Tri-meridian Corporate & Commercial Law and is intended to be used as a guide only. It is not, and is not intended to be, advice on any specific matter. We do not accept responsibility for any acts or omissions resulting from reliance upon the content of this article. Before acting on the basis of any material in this article, we recommend that you consult your professional adviser.