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Employment Contracts and Resources in Australia

Employing staff helps you grow your business so you can achieve your goals. It’s nice to see success and more profit is always welcome!!

You might start off with casual or part-time staff, but then find you need full time employees or employees who are flexible.

Or perhaps you decide that employing staff directly isn’t optimal and you should be using contractors.

One thing is clear, there are a myriad of ways to employ people and each has its pros and cons, and legal requirements.

Written employment contracts are an essential first step for protecting your business. They will:

  • outline the conditions under which you are employing an individual or company; and
  • set out the rights and obligations of each party.

A written employment agreement that complies with Australian legislation minimises the potential for misunderstandings and conflict and reduces your risk of falling foul of the FWO (Fair Work Ombudsman).

written employment contract

But which Agreement do you need?

In Australia, we have a great deal of work flexibility – staff are employed as casuals, part-time, full time, under fixed terms. There’s many ways to get your position filled.

Learn: About Employee types and your obligations under Australian Law.

Regardless of the type of employment, each employment relationship is governed by the Fair Work Act and the National Employment Standards or NES. More on the NES further down the page

RP Emery offers you a range of professionally drafted employment contracts meet the requirements under current fairwork policy.

Full Time Employment ContractFull time Employment Contract 

This contract is for employees who are employed under a modern award where the standard award entitlements apply. Full time employee’s usually work at least 38 hours per week and are steadily and continuously employed.  They usually have set hours and days of work.  Full time employees are entitled to various benefits including sick leave, holiday leave, holiday pay and superannuation.

Learn: What is Full Time Employment?

Casual Employment ContractCasual Employment Contract 

This agreement is for casual employees who are employed under a modern award where the standard award entitlements apply. A Casual employee is generally hired on an informal, uncertain and irregular basis. They don’t usually receive sick leave or annual leave and should be paid a casual loading to offset this lack of entitlements.

Bar staff or shop assistants who are never exactly sure when they will be required for work are prime examples.

Learn: What is a Casual Employee?

Learn: Why use a Casual Employment Contract?

Learn: What is the difference between Casual and Part Time Employees?

permanent part time contractPermanent Part-time Employment Contract

This employment contract is suitable for part time employees employed under a modern award where the standard award entitlements apply.

Part time employees work less hours than full time employees. However, they receive all of the entitlements of full time employees calculated on a proportional basis.

Learn: What is a Part-time employee?

Learn: What is Permanent Part Time Employment?

Fixed Term Employment ContractFixed Term Employment Agreement 

Suitable for Fixed Term employees employed under a modern award where the standard award entitlements apply.

A Fixed Term Employment Agreement is suitable for use where a staff member is being employed for a set length of time, with a specified end date for the employment. For example, to complete a specific project or to replace staff taking long service or maternity leave.

Learn: What is a Fixed Term Employment Contract?

individual flexible employment contractIndividual Flexibility Agreement 

This is an employment contract between a single employer and employee that modifies the application of a Modern Award or enterprise agreement. The Fair Work Act allows certain terms of the Modern Awards to be varied. This allows work conditions to be tailored to suit the individual requirements of employees (or employers), so long as overall, the employee is “better off”.

Learn: Why use Individual Flexibility Agreements?

Then there are Contractor Agreements

Sometimes a business owner does not want or need to hire an employee. Perham’s you only need someone for a short term project or to fill in for a staff member who is on leave.

Engaging independent consultants can be a great way for you to get the help you need, when you need it, without committing to ongoing wage costs.

You can either hire a contractor who operates as a Sole trader or one who operates under a company umbrella.

TAKE CARE when deciding if you’re new hire is an employee or a contractor – the FWO (Fair Work Ombudsman) takes the issue of sham contracting very seriously and you can put your business at great financial risk if you try to treat an employee as a contractor.

Sole Trader ContractorSole Trader Contractor Agreement 

The Sole Trader Contractors Agreement is a Contractors Agreement between a principal (usually a business or organisation) and an independent individual sole trader contractor.  It spells out the exact nature of the arrangement, defining the rights and obligations of the parties.

Incorporated Contractor Agreement 

This Corporate Contractor Services Agreement has been professionally drafted to spell out the exact nature of the arrangement, defining the rights and obligations of the parties.

It includes strict restraint, confidentiality and intellectual property provisions to bind the corporate entity and its employees while still providing the foundation for a healthy ongoing relationship.

Labour Hire Agreement Template PackLabour Hire Agreement Template

You can use a Labour Hire Agreement Template to document the conditions under which one party (the Labour Hire Company) will supply personnel to another (the Client) on an hourly basis over a set period.

Our labour hire agreement governs the relationship between the parties and covers considerations such as fees payable, occupational health and safety, insurance, timesheets, confidential information limitations of liability and much more.

Fair Work Act and the National Employment Standards

In July 2009 the Australian Federal Government reformed the workplace relations landscape and employment law with the introduction of the Fairwork Act. Along with establishing the new workplace relations system, the Act introduced the National Employment Standards (NES) and Modern Awards.

The National Employment Standards set out 11 minimum workplace entitlements that apply to all employers and employees in the national workplace relations system.

national employment standards list

As a consequence all contracts of employment, whether they are based on a Modern Award or not, must cover the 11 National Employment Standards.

As well as the NES, an effectively drafted employment contract will clearly spell out the enforceable legal obligations of the parties, both during and after the employment term.

You have flexibility in your approach both to the Award conditions and the National Employment Standards, and you can negotiate almost anything you like with an individual employee as long as you can demonstrate that he or she is better off over-all as a result of the bargain you strike.

We also offer other employment related contracts

Workplace Policy TemplateWorkplace Policy Template

Having a workplace policy in place offers many positive benefits to both your staff and your business. Setting clear guidelines, policies and procedures enables staff to have a clearer idea of their role and can increase efficiency and boost confidence.

A well written workplace policy can be a positive way to define your business and what it stands for.

Social Media Policy TemplateSocial Media Policy Template

Inappropriate use of social media is growing as a reason cited for dismissals and legal action.  What is considered “appropriate” use of social media by employees in (and out!) of the workplace is currently being shaped by cases considered by the Courts and Fair Work Commission.

Although the law surrounding this area is fast paced and still evolving, the Fair Work Commission has warned of the importance of Social Media Policies for this reason – and not just having a Social Media Policy – but bringing it into staff awareness and providing education about the practical application of the policy. 

Infographic: Why employers need a Social Media Policy

Learn: How sloppy social media practise puts your business at risk

employee performance management templatePerformance Management Template and Guidelines

Managing employee performance is a vital factor of the success of any business, which is why large businesses hire HR (Human Resources) people to look after staff.

But even if you run a small business it’s important to nurture your employees so you get the best out of them

This Performance Management Template and Guidelines is framework that you can use to set, monitor and review performance goals for your employees.

Even if you don’t have a background in HR, this practical and educational
document will outline how and why you should conduct performance management. It Includes easy to use templates for
Performance Reviews, Performance Improvement Plans along with all template
documents to support formal disciplinary processes.

Employee Non Compete TemplateEmployee Non Compete and Non Disclosure Agreement Template

Non compete or restraint provisions are a promise by an employee not to compete with his or her employer:

  • for a specified time,
  • in a designated area or
  • in a particular way.

This contract restrains an employee from competing with the employer after s/he has left the employer’s service, whether by working for a competitor, or by setting up a competing business.

In addition the employee is bound to the non-disclosure of confidential information gained during the term of their employ.

Learn: Restraint of Trade and Employment Contracts

Learn more about hiring employees

The “Gig Economy” – New and emerging technology is changing the way businesses engage their workers

separated couple under one roofAn increase of platform work in the ‘gig economy’ signals a shift away from Australia’s standard employment model. The gig economy is a labour market comprising of independent contractors, online platform workers, contract firm workers, on-call workers and temporary workers. Most notable for its flexible nature, gig work offers individuals an alternative to a conventional 9-5 routine but employers should be aware of the risk of sham contracting to avoid the wrath of the Fair Work Ombudsman.

A new NES entitlement – casual conversion under the Fair Work Act

casual employee conversionIn March 2021, the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) was amended to add a new entitlement to the existing National Employment Standards (NES). The changes provide casual employees with the right to access permanent full time or part time employment if a specific set of criteria is met. This process is also known as ‘casual conversion.’

Changes to the Law regarding definition of Casual Employees 2021

change to casual employment lawsOn 26 March 2021, the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) was amended to change the workplace rights and obligations for casual employees. In order to ensure your employees are receiving the correct entitlements, it is important that you are up-to-date with these developments.

Can Employers use Social Media to assess candidates for a job position?

Employer assessing Social mediaA growing number of employers admit to accessing the Facebook profiles of job candidates to more intimately assess their application – is this a good idea?

Does the worker get paid for an internship in Australia? 

help with family and relationship issuesUnpaid internships are gaining popularity but are they legal? Check out this summary of recent articles on unpaid internships.

Wage Theft in Australia – How some employees are getting underpaid for the work they do

wage theft employee underpaymentEmployees have the right to be paid the correct pay rate for all time worked but some employers dodge their legal obligations and underpay their staff – this is referred as wage theft. Wage theft can take many forms – from not paying the right wage, not paying all the hours or not paying other entitlements like super. This article covers wage theft in all it’s forms and new legislation in Victoria that has made wage theft a crime.

10 reasons for implementing flexible working arrangements in Australia

flexible working Being flexible as an employer helps to foster an atmosphere of “give and take” in the workplace. We look at 10 reasons why you should consider offering employees flexible working arrangements.

What types of employees do you have? Are you meeting your obligations?

examination Thanks to an increasingly flexible workplace, it seems like when it comes to employee contracts, almost anything goes. But It’s important to classify your employees correctly so that they receive all their entitlements under the law and you comply with the legislation.

Employee Onboarding

Streamline the process of employing new staff by using Employment Contract Templates

Employment ContractsEmployment Contracts are ideal discussion points to be referred to when interviewing, recruiting and hiring staff. As the contracts cover the essentials, by working your way through the contract you can make sure you are not missing anything important.

6 Free templates to help you manage employees on probation

Probation periods of weeks or months are used by employers to assess the suitability of a new staff member. Fair Work provides these 6 free templates to help you manage the probation more effectively. It includes letters for successful and unsuccessful probation, checklists and performance plans.

Are you paying your Employees Correctly?

PayslipsAward rates increase on a regular basis, usually annually. You need to be aware of these increases so you can pay your employees correctly. This article covers info about rates increases and list useful tools to help you get employee payments right. Read more

Can you require your employees to pay for, and wear uniforms?

UniformsUnder the Fair Work Act, an employer cannot require an employee to spend their pay in relation to the performance of work, if the requirement is “unreasonable”.

Fair Work Employment App – Record my Hours

Record my hours appKeeping good employment records can be tricky for many small business owners, sometimes it just seems like another time wasting piece of paperwork. If this is how you feel, then you might be interested in a new app called “record my Hours” . It helps employees and employers keep track of the hours worked.

Managing Employees

When staff take excessive sick leave

Sick LeaveIt can be especially challenging for small businesses to keep their operation running smoothly when staff take extended or excessive sick leave. How do you manage extended sick leave and what are your rights in dealing with excessive leave.

Sick Leave 101 What you need to know

Sick or personal leaveIn Australia, sick leave is covered as a type of “personal leave” in the National Employment Standards.  Personal leave also includes carer’s leave and compassionate leave. This quick guide covers the essential facts that all employers should know about sick leave.

Mandatory Vaccination in the Workplace

mandatory vaccination employmentRound up of legal articles about mandatory vaccination in the workplace. What does it mean for employers, employees and your employment?

Things to consider before asking an employee to work overtime extra hours

Overtime requestsAs an employer, you can request that your employee work reasonable overtime hours.  Overtime hours are extra hours worked by an employee / staff member. An employee can refuse overtime, if the overtime request is unreasonable. You should consider six issues that affect your overtime request.

Can you direct an employee to change shift arrangements without their Consent?

Despite the best laid plans of mice and men, sometimes an employer needs to change the employment roster. Can you do that without the employees consent? The answer is not as straightforward as you might think and there are a couple of steps to take to ensure you are complying with the law.

Changes to annual leave provisions – Cash Out Annual Leave Letter Template

annual leave changes 2015The Fair Work Commission has released a series of changes following its four-yearly review of modern awards. The changes deal predominately with the issue of excessive annual leave accrued by employees. The changes cover directing employees to take leave, cashing out leave and taking leave in advance.

Managing an Annual Business Shut Down

closed for annual shutdownAn Annual Shutdown is when an employer temporarily closes their business down during a slow business period. For example, the construction and manufacturing sectors usually close down at Christmas time. If you run a business there are some rules you need to follow when managing an Annual Shutdown.

Terminating Employees

Guide for Terminating Employees

employee terminationWhen terminating or dismissing an employee, you need to make sure you comply with legislation, namely the Fair Work Act, 2009 and the National Employment Standards.

When can a small business legally dismiss an employee?

Employee dismissalIf you own and operate a small business, you might feel overwhelmed about the laws relating to the hiring and firing staff, particularly in times of economic uncertainty and instability. The situation has been clarified somewhat by the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code and Checklist made available by the Fair Work Commission.

How to write an employee reference letter

Write employee referenceNot sure how to put together a reference for your employee? Here is a sample employee reference letter you can use as a guide to get you started.

Was SBS’s Sacking of Scott McIntyre lawful?

Scott Mcintyre firedSBS has been the subject of a great deal of media attention for the sacking of Scott McIntyre. SBS’s managing director, Michael Ebeid made the decision to sack Scott McIntyre immediately and without notice.  This raises questions about whether the dismissal was fair and lawful.

Workplace Safety – Harassment, Bullying

Evolving trend for workplace bullying laws

Bullying iconMany business leaders and HR professionals are overwhelmed by what is required to comply with the new Workplace Bullying laws. Workplace managers are increasingly expected to take greater responsibility for the management, education and prevention of workplace bullying.

Was unfriending an employee on Facebook really considered bullying?

Do you know your Workplace Basics? Take the test!You could be forgiven for thinking that employment laws have gone mad following the Fair Work Commission’s decision that Facebook unfriending constituted bullying in the workplace. Is it really true? Or did the facts get lost in all the confusion and hype?

Court cases involving Employment

Casual Employee Classification – Demystifying the Decision in Workpac v Skene

Court Rules on Casual Employment Workpac v SkeneThe recent ruling by the Federal Court of Australia in Workpac v Skene has resulted in the potential classification of casual employees as permanent employees. This decision is significant for small businesses, many who employ staff on a casual basis, as staff may now be entitled to additional benefits. In this article, we discuss the impact of the decision and potential impacts on your business.

20 year old retail employees entitled to 100% of Adult wage

Retail Staff Court The FWC has made a decision that 20 year old employees working under the Retail Industry Award are now entitled to 100% of the adult wage rather than 90%.

Employers warned – Courts take case of Sexual Harassment very seriously

Another recent case highlights the need for employers to tread very carefully when dealing with allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace – employee awarded $466,000 in compensation and damages. >

Employer held responsible for the Sexual Harassment of an employee by another employee

sexual harassmentA recent case in the Federal Circuit Court highlights the importance of employers acting on complaints of sexual harassment by their employees.

Recent case in FWC shows why it’s important for employers to follow correct termination procedures.

Follow Correct ProceduresA recent case in the Fair Work Commission highlights a lawful termination of an employee following the employee’s misuse of social media. There have been other cases concerning the dismissal of employees for inappropriate social media use that did not stack up to scrutiny.  We look at why this case is different.

Read more Employment Articles on our Blog

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