The Fair Work Act places heavy responsibilities on employers, especially when it comes to hiring and inducting new staff. And if you’re nodding at the screen right now, you know exactly what I mean.

If you don’t pay attention to the details, you could find yourself in hot water. In addition to statutory obligations, there are a number or core “best practice” measures that all employers should follow when employing a new staff member.

Don’t think of these measures as additional red tape, but think instead of how your business will benefit from adopting a streamlined employee induction process – not only will it help you avoid any pitfalls, it’s a chance to ensure your business values and objectives are explained to your new employee so they know exactly what you expect from them.

To help you on your way, we’ve put together a sample employee induction checklist to ensure your employee inductions run smoothly. Tick them off as you go…

Step 1: Employment Contract

Before the employee starts work, give them a written employment contract

Make sure the employee returns a signed copy to you

This is important, because if you don’t have a signed copy of an employment contract that clearly specifies the agreed terms and conditions of employment:

  • You’re more likely to get disputes over terms of engagement and what was understood or agreed
  • It may be difficult for you to manage your employee if they do something you don’t like
  • It may be harder for you to dismiss your employee if something goes wrong
  • It’ll be harder to show that you’ve complied with any award obligations (if applicable) that require you to inform the employee of their terms of engagement.

Step 2: Issue the Employee with the Essential Paperwork

Have you provided the employee with the following documents?

  • Employee Handbook
  • Tax File Number Declaration Form (which needs to be lodged with the ATO within 14 days of being signed or completed by you)
  • Superannuation Details Form
  • Bank Account Details Form
  • Fair Work Information Statement (FWIS)
  • FWIS Acknowledgement Form

It’s important to be aware that since 1 January 2010, employers are required by law to provide all starting employees with a FWIS, which provides information on core rights and entitlements under the Fair Work Act.

  • Make sure all the above documents (including the FWIS acknowledgement form) are returned to you and place all the employee’s paperwork in a secure personnel file.
  • Wherever possible, ensure that the employee signs something acknowledging that they’ve received and understood these materials. Do this before, or at the time, they commence their employment.

Step 3: Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) Induction

  • Have you provided the new employee with a copy of your company’s WHS policy (and an acknowledgement of receipt)?
  • Have you instructed the employee on how to report a hazard in the workplace?
  • Have you shown the employee fire exits, fire equipment and first aid facilities?
  • Have you told the employee who the designated first aid officer is, and which employee or employees they can turn to for help in an emergency?

Step 4: Probationary Period

  • Have you specified a probationary period?
  • Have you set a reminder for the review date?
  • Have you set a reminder for the minimum employment period?

The probationary period is a time frame (in the first few months of employment) during which you decide whether the employee is meeting your expectations. If you are creating a performance plan for a new employee, you should ensure that you set a review date well before the employee’s minimum employment period ends.

This will ensure that you have enough time to review the employee’s performance, decide whether you want to keep them and, if not, terminate their employment before their minimum employment period expires.

Also note that the Fair Work Act sets a minimum employment period that an employee needs to serve before they are able to make an unfair dismissal claim:

  • 12 months – for small business employers with fewer than 15 full-time equivalent employees (and associated entities); or
  • 6 months – for all other businesses

Congratulations, you’ve now done the essentials!

Many induction processes also include education on workplace and company culture, organisational structure, education on the various company policies, reporting and disciplinary processes, training on particular software or project/client management tools, checking of various licences and tickets, issuing IT equipment, and much more.

This checklist, however, covers the minimum requirements under workplace law.

If you’d like more information on employee induction processes for your particular business or industry, we offer a complete, compliant and cost-effective service where we can not only guide you through the employee induction process but the entire employee lifecycle. If you’d like to know more, Contact us today.