FWO outlines best practices when hiring a new employee
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FWO outlines best practices when hiring a new employee

by Freya Lucas

June 29, 2022

The advent of a new financial year can sometimes mean turnover in staff teams. Recognising this fact, the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has prepared a list of useful hints and tips for employees of all kinds when it comes to hiring staff, especially if they are doing this for the first time. 


The piece below outlines the four major stages of the hiring process, namely: 



Hiring employees checklist


A checklist has been developed to support employers who are hiring new staff to follow the correct procedures. 


Using this information will help to meet Australian laws when hiring. It includes laws about:


  • discrimination
  • minimum pay rates
  • employee entitlements
  • tax and super.


Know the law (and the costs)


Before hiring someone, an employer needs to know:


  • whether they will be full-time, part-time or casual
  • which award or agreement will apply
  • the minimum wage for the role (and whether the business can afford it).


Full-time, part-time or casual


An employee can be hired as:



It’s important to know whether the employee will be full-time, part-time or casual because pay rates, leave and other entitlements can be different for each.


A casual employee can ask their small business employer to convert their employment from casual to permanent (full-time or part-time) if they meet certain requirements. This is also known as casual conversion.


For more information, see:



Awards and agreements


Most small businesses are covered by an award. Sometimes larger workplaces, such as a group of businesses, are covered by agreements instead of an award.


In an early childhood education and care (ECEC) context, the main awards which apply are the Children’s Services Award and the Educational Services (Teachers) Award. In Victoria, early childhood teachers (ECTs) may be covered by a single enterprise agreement known as the Victorian Early Childhood Teachers and Educators Agreement .




The FWO has created a Pay Calculator to help employers to determine what they will need to pay a new employee. It will also assist in determining which award will apply and if an employer must pay employees extra for working overtime or on weekends, known as penalty rates.


The hiring process


Once an employer has completed the background preparation and decided that hiring an employee is the right step, they can start the hiring process. Understanding that this can be daunting the FWO has created a free online course that covers the basics, including:


  • creating a job description and advertising the position
  • shortlisting and interviewing candidates
  • making a job offer
  • setting up a proper induction to make sure an employee feels welcomed and equipped to do their job.


Access the free Hiring employees online course through the FWO’s Online learning centre.


The business.gov.au – Employment Contract Tool  can be used to build an employment contract that is  tailored to each business’ needs and complies with workplace laws.


To use the tool, an employee must be:


  • full-time, part-time or casual
  • covered by an award
  • paid an hourly or weekly wage.


The Employment Contract Tool isn’t for every worker. It can’t be used for:


  • employees who’ll be paid a salary
  • apprentices and trainees
  • seasonal workers
  • independent contractors
  • employees covered by registered agreements.


Use the business.gov.au – Employment Contract Tool .


Other things to be mindful of during the hiring process are:


  • work rights and visas
  • tax and superannuation
  • workplace health and safety obligations
  • discrimination and other protections for employees
  • checking licenses and qualifications.


Get more information on these and other considerations using the business.gov.au – Hiring employees checklist .


Information to give new employees


Before an employee starts their new job, or as soon as possible after, they must receive a copy of the following documents:



The FWIS provides new employees with information about their conditions of employment, including the National Employment Standards.


The CEIS sets out the definition of a casual employee and how the employee can request conversion to permanent (full-time or part-time) employment. It also explains how to resolve disputes about casual conversion.


Resources for hiring employees


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