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Becoming an Employer: The First Steps

Article written by Veechi Curtis

Figuring out what rules and regulations you have to comply with before taking on your first employee depends on whether you’re in Australia or New Zealand. However, regardless of which country you operate from, you need to do a few things first, such as registering as an employer, covering employees for accidents or injury, paying a minimum wage and providing a safe workplace. Read on for a checklist of everything you need to remember.

Becoming an Employer Checklist

Tick these items off, one by one:

Australia only
  • Do you have an ABN?
  • Have all employees completed a Tax file Number declaration?
  • Are you complying with all relevant awards and standards as regards employee pay and conditions, or do you have some other kind of employment contract or official workplace agreement in place? (Don’t forget — employment contracts can’t undercut the award.)
  • Do you have a copy of all relevant awards or agreements at your workplace available for employees to read?
New Zealand only
  • Have you registered as an employer with Inland Revenue?
  • Have all employees completed a Tax code declaration (IR330) form?
  • Have you sent a covering letter with your offer of employment, and has the employee signed this covering letter to say that they accept the offer as well as the conditions in the employment agreement?
  • Do you have a written employment agreement in place for each of your employees?
  • Are you paying the minimum wage or above for all employees?
  • Do you have copies of the KiwiSaver information pack to give to new employees, and have you provided Inland Revenue with details of any employees who are registered?
  • Have you supplied a KiwiSaver deduction form to employees who already belong to the scheme?
Both Australia and New Zealand
  • Have you double-checked whether any subcontractors should really be considered employees for taxation, superannuation and/or workers compensation purposes?
  • Are you insured in the event that one of your employees has an accident (known as workers comp in Australia, or accident cover in New Zealand).
  • Do you understand how to calculate employee tax (called PAYG tax in Oz, or PAYE tax in New Zealand) and superannuation (called KiwiSaver in New Zealand)? (If you don’t, you may find that payroll software is the way to go.)
  • Do you have a written workplace safety policy?
  • Do you provide payslips with every employee pay that includes all of the necessary information such as employer name, date and period of payment, any deductions and superannuation payments?
  • Do you maintain and keep all necessary employment records, which, most often, include wage rates, leave history, superannuation details, nature of the employment (for example, full-time, part-time or casual) and hours worked?
Small Business For Dummies

For more about becoming an employer, as well as obtaining lots of tips about recruitment and employee management, you can purchase your own copy of Small Business For Dummies from our online bookstore.

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