Employ Candidates Compliantly in Australia

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  1. Overview: Australia
  2. Global HR Compliance
  3. Global PEO and payroll
  4. Work permit for hiring expats via PEO
  5. Expand without a company set up
  6. Contractor vs. employee: which is better?
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Global HR Compliance in Australia

If you hire international workforce, or plan to hire, then Hiring and Firing Workforce in Australia Guide below will help you understand the nuances of labor legislation in the country.

There are two main reasons for companies hiring foreign workforce:

  • Expanding into foreign markets to sell company product or products there. In this case, companies hire sales representatives who would exclusively represent their product in the target market and sell it to their local client base.
  • Hiring the right foreign talent with a unique expertise, often related to IT sphere that cannot be found in the home country or that costs less compared to local specialist with similar skills.

After you have found the right candidate, the question is how to hire and provide compensation to this person so you as a business remain 100% compliant when working with global workforce. Another thing to consider is whether you want to keep the talent long-term and how you can do that.

If you need to hire foreign workforce in Australia so you can expand there, then our Global Employer of Record solution may be of help. We help you legally hire and reward your foreign workforce by making them employees via a global employment outsourcing service. This is simple as employ your in-house workforce with the only difference that workers can live anywhere in the world and Acumen International would be their legal employer on your behalf. This means we would bear all employment risks, not you. Also, we manage bonuses, vacations, sick leave and can rent the office and a car for your foreign sales representatives if that is what you need.

With our solution, you can test new foreign markets before deciding whether you are going to get established there. You gain flexibility and expand with reduced costs, and easily withdraw from the unattractive countries.

We are experts in global workforce employment in Australia, and our goal is to become your single provider. Instead of working with numerous local staffing agencies and legal advisors, Acumen International can solve your global business challenges and save you time, costs, and resources.

Our team of English-speaking professionals frees you from working through language nuances. Acumen International works 24/7 and can assist you whenever you need, regardless of time zones. Our goal is to create tailored labor solutions for you that are managed legally and in full compliance with the local employment laws.

With our knowledge and deep understanding of local nuances, you easily satisfy your need for skilled professionals in your global industry. With our qualified local partners, you can trust that your global workforce satisfies all local tax, social security, and immigration requirements in Australia.

Hiring and Firing Workforce in Australia Guide

# Employment Agreements

Permanent employment contracts (all options including any limitations, such as max duration or number of fixed— term agreements)

Generally speaking, there are two types of industrial instruments: awards; and workplace agreements, which include enterprise agreements, collective agreements made under the previous legislation, and greenfields agreements

Awards are legal documents that outline the minimum employment standards (e.g., pay rates and conditions of employment), and which are industry-, occupation-, or industry-and-occupation-specific.

Enterprise agreements are agreements negotiated between a collective group of employees and an employer(s). Such agreements must specify a nominal expiry date, which is important if and when the parties want to attempt to negotiate new terms, because it will trigger relevant time periods in which employees are able to take protected industrial action.

Permanent employment is the most common employment type in Australia. The term ‘permanent employment’ covers both full-time and part-time employees.

Fixed-term employees have some of the same as their equivalent permanent employee.

The biggest difference from permanent employees regards the fixed-term, as opposed ongoing, nature of employment. The contract for a fixed-term employee states directly when the term of employment will end.

Under Australian law, a written signature is not necessarily required for a valid contract – contracts are generally valid if legally competent parties reach an agreement, whether they agree verbally, electronically or in a physical paper document.

# Employment Termination and Severance Pay (Dismissal)

Termination notice may be given to an employee by:

  • delivering it personally;
  • leaving it at the employee’s last known address;
  • sending it by prepaid post to the employee’s last known address. 

When an employment relationship ends, employees should receive the following entitlements in their final pay:

  • any outstanding wages or other remuneration still owing
  • any pay in lieu of notice of termination
  • any accrued annual leave and long service leave entitlements
  • the balance of any time off instead of overtime that the employee has accrued but not yet taken any redundancy pay or entitlements if the employees has been made redundant and is eligible.

# It is prohibited to dismiss

The General Protections laws protect employees from dismissal for an unlawful reason, including: race, color, sex, sexual preference, age, physical, or mental disability, marital status, family or career’s responsibilities, pregnancy, religion, political opinion, national extraction, social origin, temporary absence due to illness or injury (of a kind prescribed by the Fair Work Regulations), holding office or membership of a trade union, and engaging in industrial activities.

Dismissed employees may also explore common law actions for breach of contract based on a failure to provide “reasonable notice,” and/or failure by an employer to follow its own performance management/disciplinary policy.

# Notice period

The minimum notice period that must be provided is as follows:

  • Not more than one year  — one week
  • More than one year, but less than three years  — two weeks
  • More than three years, but less than five years  — three weeks
  • More than five years  — four weeks

# Employee Benefits and Contributions

Employers are obligated to provide employees with minimum rates of pay (including any applicable overtime rates, loadings or penalty rates) in accordance with the federal minimum wage or an industrial instrument, whichever applies to the employee.

# Probationary period

Employers can put their employees on a probation period (also known as a probationary period) to assess if employees are suitable for the role and business.

The employer decides on the length of the probation period. It can range from a few weeks to a few months at the start of employment

If hired on a full-time or part-time basis, an employee on probation is entitled to: accrue and access their paid leave entitlements such as annual leave and sick leave.

If an employee doesn’t pass their probation, they are still entitled to: receive notice when employment ends have their unused accumulated annual leave hours paid out.

# Overtime

An employee may refuse to work additional hours if they are unreasonable. In determining whether additional hours are reasonable or unreasonable, the following must be taken into account:

  • any risk to employee health and safety;
  • the employee’s personal circumstances, including family responsibilities;
  • the needs of the workplace or enterprise;
  • whether the employee is entitled to receive overtime payments, penalty rates or other compensation for (or a level of remuneration that reflects an expectation of ) working additional hours;
  • any notice given by the employer to work the additional hours;
  • any notice given by the employee of his or her intention to refuse to work the additional hours;
  • the usual patterns of work in the industry;
  • the nature of the employee’s role and the employee’s level of responsibility;
  • whether the additional hours are in accordance with averaging provisions included in an award or agreement that is applicable to the employee, or an averaging arrangement agreed to by an employer and an award/agreement-free employee;

# Sick Leave

The leave is considered personal if taken for a personal illness or injury, whereas the leave is considered carer’s if taken to provide care or support to a member of the employee’s immediate family or household due to personal illness, injury, or unexpected emergency.

An employee is entitled to 10 days of paid personal/carer’s leave time for each year of service with his/her employer, which accrue on a pro rata basis, and the employer must pay the employee at the employee’s base rate of pay

# Parental Leave

In order to receive unpaid parental leave, an employee must:

  • give birth, have a spouse or de facto partner give birth or adopt a child under the age of 16
  • have worked for his/her employer for at least 12 months:
    • before the date or expected date of birth (if the employee is pregnant);
    • before the date of adoption; or
    • when the leave starts (if the leave is taken after another person cares for the child or takes parental leave); and
    • have or will have responsibility for the care of a child.

If eligible, employees are entitled to 12 months of unpaid parental leave. Employees may also request an additional 12 months of leave, which may only be denied by the employer on reasonable business grounds.

Employees having another child are not required to work for another 12 months prior to taking another leave of unpaid parental leave, if working for the same employer. For employees who started work with a new employer since having or adopting a child, another 12 months must be worked with the new employer before entitlement to unpaid parental leave.  

Acumen International can help you fast-track your possibilities of entering and expanding your business in Australia by providing you with an Employer of Record services. Our unique mix of PEO/EOR solutions will enable you to jumpstart your global operations almost immediately, cost-effectively and compliantly without any requirement to set up a legal entity first or thereafter.

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