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The nitty gritty of doing women’s business

If you're a business newbie, here's the basics of what you need to know before hiring any new employees.

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From mother’s groups to Facebook newsfeeds, women are starting businesses at three times the rate as men, and are leading small business growth in Australia.

But while it can be an exciting and rewarding experience, it is crucial that you make yourself aware of all that being an employer entails, as simple mistakes can end up costing a great deal of time and money, and even lead to legal action – as the saying goes “ignorance is no excuse”.

Many home-based businesses start with a sole trader tackling most tasks themselves, and using an accountant and maybe a solicitor when required.

They then grow to the point where additional help is needed, even for just a couple of hours a week.

But this extra help comes with a raft of extra responsibilities and obligations, because that sole trader is now an employer.

Employers are required to adhere to state and federal workplace legislation, including the Fair Work Act.

They must have workcover insurance and remit regular pay-as-you-go taxation and superannuation payments.

They must maintain a safe and healthy workplace, and could find themselves legally liable for the actions of their employees.

Suddenly, the ‘casual’ you took on to relieve you of some of your workload has actually increased the load!

But before you throw in the towel and consider a return to ‘employee’ status yourself, make yourself a cuppa, take a breath and find out just what is involved in becoming an employer – many aspects can be arranged for you, with just a little ‘maintenance’ required on your part.

At a minimum you will need to ensure that you are, or will be:

  • able to verify that your employee has the legal right to work in Australia,
  • paying the correct wage, withholding the correct tax and making any required superannuation contributions,
  • providing a payslip within the required timeframe, containing all necessary details
  • covered by adequate workcover insurance
  • aware of the rights and responsibilities of all parties under the Fair Work Act, and making your employees aware of the same
  • complying with state and federal workplace legislations, including the Fair Work Act, Work Health and Safety Act and Sex Discrimination Act.
  • abiding by any local council requirements for a home-based business with employees.

A human resources consultant can take you through the basics of managing employees, and great advice can also be found at: www.fairwork.gov.au and www.business.gov.au.

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