As you may be aware, the Fair Work Act places heavy responsibilities on employers, especially when it comes to hiring and inducting new staff. If you don’t pay attention to the details, you could find yourself in hot water. In addition to statutory obligations, there are a number or core “best practice” measures that all employers should ensure are followed when employing a new staff member.
Rather than getting frustrated by additional red tape, consider that your business will benefit from adopting a streamlined employee induction process – not only will it help you avoid any pitfalls, it is a chance to ensure your business values and objectives are explained to your new employee, so the employee knows exactly what you expect of them.
Using the following checklist will help to ensure that things run smoothly.
Step 1: Employment Contract
Before the employee starts work, issue the employee with a written employment contract and ensure the employee returns a signed copy of the employment contract.
This is important because if you do not have a signed copy of the contract that clearly specifies the agreed terms and conditions of employment:
- disputes over terms of engagement and what was understood / agreed are more likely to arise
- it may be difficult for you to manage the employee if they do something you don’t like
- it may be harder for you to dismiss the employee if something goes wrong
- it will be harder to show you have complied with award obligations (if applicable) to inform the employee of their terms of engagement.
Step 2: Issue the Employee with the Essential Paperwork
Have you provided the employee with the following documents?
☐ Employee Handbook
☐ Tax File Number Declaration Form (which needs to be lodged with the ATO within 14 days of being signed or completed by you)
☐ Superannuation Details Form
☐ Bank Account Details Form
☐ FWIS Acknowledgement Form
It is important to be aware that employers are required by law to provide all employees who start work on or after 1 January 2010 with a FWIS, which provides information on core rights and entitlements under the Fair Work Act.
You should also make sure all the above documents (including the FWIS acknowledgement form) are returned to you and that you have placed all the employee’s paperwork in a secure personnel file.
Wherever possible, ensure that the employee signs as having received and understood these materials before, or at, the time of commencement.
Step 3: Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) Induction
☐ Have you provided the new employee with a copy of your company’s WHS policy (and an acknowledgement of receipt)?
☐ Have you instructed the employee on how to report a hazard in the workplace?
☐ Have you shown the employee fire exits, fire equipment and first aid facilities?
☐ Have you informed the employee about who is the first aid officer/which employee to ask for assistance in the case of an emergency?
Step 4: Probationary Period
☐ Have you specified a probationary period?
☐ Have you set a reminder for the review date?
☐ Have you set a reminder for the minimum employment period?
The probationary period is a time frame (in the first few months of employment) during which you decide whether the employee is meeting your expectations. If you are creating a performance plan for a new employee, you should ensure that you set a review date well before the employee’s minimum employment period ends.
This will ensure that you have enough time to review the employee’s performance, decide whether you want to keep them and, if not, terminate their employment before their minimum employment period expires.
Also note that the Fair Work Act sets a minimum employment period that an employee needs to serve before they are able to make an unfair dismissal claim:
- 12 months – for small business employers with fewer than 15 full-time equivalent employees (and associated entities); or
- 6 months – for all other businesses
Would you like more information on employee induction processes? At HR Assured, we offer our clients a cost-effective complete workplace solution that not only guides you through the employee induction process but the entire employee lifecycle. Would you like to find out more?