Employment options when hiring staff

Correctly resourcing your business with employees is an important issue for all businesses. Having the right number of staff with the right employment status allows existing businesses to meet demand and growing businesses to take on more work. There are significant costs associated with employing staff, so getting the balance right between meeting customer demand and staff utilisation is vital. One of the most important aspects to consider when hiring staff is the different employment statuses that exist, and being aware of your responsibilities as an employer.

Staff can be employed under a number of categories. Some categories offer more flexibility for workers, while others provide more security for the business. Ideally, when looking to employ you would choose an employment structure for each staff member that suits both the business and the employee. There are four main employment statuses to choose from and each one comes with their own set of obligations for you and your staff: Permanent Full Time, Permanent Part Time, Casual and Temporary.

Full-Time Employees work 38 hours per week: which is 7.6 hours per day, 5 days a week. They are entitled to Annual Leave, Personal Leave, Public Holidays, Parental Leave, Long Service Leave, Superannuation Guarantee and a period of notice if their job is terminated.

Permanent Part-Time Employees work less than 38 hours per week but these are usually set hours and/or days. They are eligible to the same entitlements as permanent full-time employees (above), but just proportionally less based on time accrued in the job.

Casual Employee’s work hours may vary each week, depending on the work available, and are not guaranteed. They are paid for the hours worked and receive a loading (usually 25%) to compensate them for not receiving the same benefits as full or part time workers. Casuals can be entitled to penalty rates, loadings and allowances.

Temporary Employees are engaged for a specific period of time either a fixed term contract or to work on a particular project with an end date. Employees are also considered temporary if they are engaged via an agency or replace permanent employees who may have taken long service, parental or some other leave. Temporary employees are eligible for entitlements depending on whether they are employed on a full time, part time or casual basis.

It’s important to distinguish if your workers are employees or independent contractors. If they are employees, then their employment status and your obligations as an employer is one of the most important things to consider when deciding on how to manage your human resources. Contractors can also be deemed employees with regard to superannuation and workers’ compensation, so it’s important to understand the parameters. The ATO offers a handy resource to work this out.

For more specific information related to your industry and employees, please refer to your specific industry award or the Fairwork website.