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Legal checklist for hiring and onboarding staff

As a business owner and a lawyer, I understand the real pressures of running a business, the delight in growing a team and the legal issues involved.

This is my firm's checklist for hiring and onboarding staff. Enjoy :)


  1. Know the person's status. The Fair Work Ombudsman explains:

  2. "Full-time employees work 38 hours per week and have ongoing employment. They have a regular pattern of hours and can be asked to work additional hours if the hours are reasonable.

  3. Part-time employees work less than 38 hours per week and have ongoing employment. They have a regular pattern of hours and can be asked to work reasonable additional hours.

  4. Casual employees aren’t guaranteed a certain amount of hours of work a week. They are usually paid an additional amount called a ‘casual loading’ because they don’t get other entitlements like paid sick leave or annual leave.

  5. Fixed term employees are engaged for a specified period of time, task or season, e.g. a fixed term employee may be used to cover a parental leave absence or to work on a particular project."

  6. Throughout the hiring process, the Fair Work Act provides general protections to protect workplace rights.

  7. Check whether a Modern Award or an Enterprise Agreement applies. Where a Modern Award applies, it sets out what the minimum wages and entitlements for that industry and level of experience.

  8. Write a job description, job advertisement, selection criteria and interview questions.

  9. When interviewing, consistently ask the same questions to each candidate and record the candidate's answers. When assessing the candidates, grade their responses against the selection criteria. This creates a fairer system and reduces bias.

  10. Check references and record responses. If you need to contact referees who are not listed on the resume, contact the candidate and ask for their permission to contact their referee/former employer to ensure privacy compliance.

  1. Keep applications secure and confidential.


  1. Provide the following documents:

  2. Letter of engagement- Employment agreement

  3. Fair Work Information Statement

  4. Company policies and procedures- eg: code of conduct, uniform, social media policies

  5. Tax file number declaration and superannuation choice forms.

  6. Employers are responsible for administering PAYG, withholding tax and superannuation on behalf of employees.

  7. Pay workers compensation insurance.

  8. Establish workflows, checklists, OH&S policies and procedures and key performance indicators so the employee is set up for success.


Now, it is time to meet the team.....

  • Recruiter: Establishes selection criteria, reviews resumes, interviews candidates and presents the best candidates to you.

  • Bookkeeper: Sets up payroll, PAYG and superannuation

  • Lawyer: Drafts employment contracts and company policies, procedures and code of conduct, advises on worker entitlements and award compliance, hiring processes and procedures.

We are passionate about helping businesses grown by sharing information. The content of this article is legal information, not advice. To see an employment lawyer, please do not hesitate to contact me on or (03) 8691 3128.

Warm regards,


Caroline Mense

Principal Lawyer Legal Enablers Pty Ltd

Call: 03 8691 3128 Email:

LE Melbourne office: Level 14, 330 Collins Street Melbourne VIC 3000

LE Sydney office: Level 11, 66 Clarence Street Sydney NSW 2000

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