A guide to hiring your first employee

So your business is getting so busy that you need a helping hand? Great stuff. Here’s a guide to hiring your first employee.

Congratulations – hiring your first employee is a mammoth step in the journey of any business.

It’s also a risky step. This is a new boss’s guide to minimising that risk.

1. Recruitment bias

The first major risk you’ll face on the way to becoming a boss is the potential for allegations of discrimination during recruitment.

In a nutshell, all candidates must get a fair go, regardless of race, gender, religion or age.

You’ll also have to be careful with how you word your job advert. 

While phrases such as “seeking a mature, experienced professional” or “join a dynamic young team” might sound harmless enough, according to Human Rights Commission, they may be seen as discriminatory.


“While phrases such as “seeking a mature, experienced professional” or “join a dynamic young team” might sound harmless enough, according to Human Rights Commission Victoria, they may be seen as discriminatory”


2. Workplace health and safety 

Hopefully you haven’t been working in an unsafe environment even when you were on your own. But now that you’re an employer, under Australian Workplace Health and Safety (WH&S) legislation, you’re legally required to provide safe work premises and to assess and mitigate risks to your employees’ health and safety – even if the office is your home, and even they work off-site.

Keep in mind that WH&S doesn’t just include slips and trips; your procedures should also consider issues such as bullying and harassment.

WH&S compliance, injury reporting and licensing obligations vary between states and territories, so be sure to consult the relevant local legislation – Safe Work Australia is a great place to start, and includes industry-specific guides for higher-risk industries such as construction.

3. Pay

Everyone deserves to be paid a fair and decent wage.   They also have a legal right to that – when you hire your first employee there are minimum pay rates to consider, penalty rates and allowances to pay, tax to deduct and compulsory superannuation contributions to factor into your budget.

The Fair Work Ombudsman‘s website is a good place to start to ensure you tick off all your obligations. 

And while it may seem easier to avoid all this and just work with   contractors, be aware that in the eyes of the law, whether a person working for you is technically a contractor or an employee can be murky, as we’ve previously discussed.

Important note – the information provided here is general advice only and has been prepared without taking in account your objectives, financial situation or needs. ARMA Insurance Brokers CQ ABN 60 096 916 184 | AFSL 233750

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