Employment Law: Back to Basics

Our clients’ often come to us with questions that go to the heart of the employment relationship, and we are continually surprised that experienced business owners do not understand the basic legal principles and laws underpinning the employment relationship. We will be dedicating the next 6 issues of our client alerts to a series on the Basics of Employment Law.

Does money talk? How to motivate your key people.

It is often believed that “money talks” when it comes to hiring senior executives. But does a salary alone provide motivation to senior executives?

When it comes to senior executives, many businesses believe by paying a significant salary they will obtain the best out of the employee. However, this is not necessarily always correct. A number of other options should be considered by organisations to motivate their senior executives. It is a fact that the culture and success of any business starts with its people and most notably its senior people. If the senior managers are engaged, motivated and have the relevant leadership skills, the business is much more likely to succeed.

What Employers Should Know About Running Background Checks?

While you hire someone, you may feel the need for some additional information on a candidate. After all, there are chances that the applicant may give you false or incomplete information on their application.

Meanwhile, there are some employees who don’t want you to know certain facts about themselves that may put them in a difficult position or disqualify them from getting the job. Thus, it is generally a good idea to run a little background check before you make the final job offer.

Labour for Hire: What You Need to Know

When you think about it, it is inconceivable to imagine certain Australian industries such as construction, agriculture and the resources sector (to name a few), continuing to function, much less survive, without the supply of labour via labour hire. Given that many Australian companies utilise labour hire services of some kind either directly or via third party contractors, and the spotlight which is continuing to be shone by unions and regulators on the protection of vulnerable classes of workers in Australia, various State governments have recently enacted legislation to reform how labour hire activities are provided.

In an effort the keep abreast of these developments, this article will examine the labour hire schemes that have been legislated so far in Queensland, South Australia and Victoria.


Ordinarily, there is nothing very comic about legal contracts. In particular, employment contracts can be long, difficult to understand and full of legalese. As a way of tackling this, there is an emerging trend to think outside the box when it comes to contract law and expressing legal concepts. In this week’s client alert, we discuss the creative innovations that are being considered in contract design, specifically through the use of illustrations, diagrams and other comic-book like imagery.

What Type of Employment is Best?

Hiring a new employee is a crucial decision in any business. However, deciding on the most appropriate employment relationship for a growing business can be a daunting prospect. With so many types of employment arrangements now available such as full-time and part-time permanent employment, casual employment, temporary employment, internships and fixed term employment to name a few, each with their own respective advantages and disadvantages, it can be difficult to know which is the most appropriate arrangement to use for your business. It is crucial for employers to understand the differences between the respective ways in which an employee can be engaged, so as to enable the business to make an appropriate decision regarding the make-up of its workforce. In addition, incorrectly classifying an employment relationship can have serious detrimental consequences. In this article, we provide a summary of some of the most popular employment arrangements and how they can be used.

If You Cannot Find It – You Cannot Rely on It: The Importance of Contract Administration

With the arduous task of conducting performance appraisals out of the way, many employers understandably think the hard yards have been done. Although carrying out performance reviews may necessitate both positive and negative conversations with employees, depending on the kind of feedback being provided, many employers often disregard a fundamental and imperative step in the process to consolidate such discussions.


Employers generally want to ensure that a potential employee is honest, trustworthy and have the right attributes for the role. A prudent employer will also want to ensure that they are not employing someone who may not be the right fit for the business, or who does not have the skills and attributes that it requires. The costs associated with the performance management and termination of an employee who should not have been offered the role to begin with, are far outweighed by the minimal investment of time and effort involved in appropriate pre-employment screening. We receive several enquiries regarding when and how an employer can conduct pre-employment screening and have considered some of the issues such screening may cause in this article.

Casual Employees: What You Need to Know

For employers, casual employment has a number of distinct advantages. It provides significant flexibility, allowing employers to rapidly adjust staffing levels when required. For employees, casual employment may provide similar opportunities for flexibility through greater work-life balance and ensuring that personal commitments and family responsibilities can be sustained. If casual employment provides benefits all-round, why is this mode of employment such a contentious industrial relations issue.

Probationary Period v Minimum Employment Period – What’s the Difference?

Do I need to have a probationary period in my contract of employment? What is the difference between a probationary period and the minimum employment period? What does a probationary period actually mean? These are some of the questions we are routinely asked in relation to what is normally a fairly standard contractual term.

In our experience, there is considerable confusion about the difference between a probation period and how this relates to the minimum employment period in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (“FW Act”).

“You’re Going to Get Rich Working Here!” What Not to Say When Hiring Staff: A Lesson for Employers

In last week’s client alert we discussed the importance of forming strong employment relations from the outset and the need to have carefully drafted employment contracts in place that appropriately reflect the parties understanding of the bargain. What protections, however, does the law provide when a prospective employer is less than frank about the affairs of the business in which the employee is going to be employed, and makes misrepresentations about the level of earnings, profitability and potential career trajectory of a prospective employee.


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