Emil Ford Lawyers

Free Business Law Papers and Resources

Changes to the Registration of Business Names:  How will it affect you?

As of 28 May 2012, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) will manage Business Name Registration for all states and territories. ASIC will take over the NSW role from NSW Fair Trading.  How will this change affect your business? 

Read our Business Brief - Changes to the Registration of Business Names:  How will it affect you?

 


Consumer Law Update - Do your Terms & Conditions comply with Australian Consumer Law

On January 1, 2012 a new Regulation 90 came into force under the Australian Consumer Law. The regulation affects any business which supplies goods or services to consumers, which tends to be most businesses. This note is to help you understand how the new regulation may affect your business. A diagram of how Regulation 90 operates is included.
 

Read our Consumer Law Update - Do your Terms & Conditions comply with Australian Consumer Law?


From “Hi” to “Goodbye”
How to protect your business ...

Finding a good employee can be a real challenge. However, once an offer of employment has been accepted, the most important point in the hiring process has arrived. At this point, employers should ensure that all aspects relating to the candidate’s employment are clearly understood.

A written Contract of Employment provides legal protection and guidelines for both employers and employees. The Contract should be agreed upon by both parties at the outset. Trying to correct misunderstandings about employment conditions after employment has commenced can be difficult and time consuming (and is certainly best avoided ).

Relying on verbal agreements made during the interview process is a huge mistake. This unwise practice leaves the employer very exposed.

When writing a Contract of Employment, keep it short and simple. A short, simply written letter will often suffice.

What should you include in a Contract of Employment?

  1. Hours of work (including overtime policy);
  2. Pay entitlement: Always check whether a new employee is covered by an industrial award. If you are unsure of an employee’s rate of pay, check their entitlement with Fair Work Australia. An employee who is underpaid is entitled to back pay and the employer may be fined.
  3. Workplace policies including:
    -computer access;
    -technology;
    -occupational health and safety;
    -intellectual property protection;
    -sexual discrimination;
  4. Probationary period (provides employers with flexibility and may protect them from unfair dismissal laws);
  5. A non-compete clause (you don’t want to spend time and energy training an employee just to have them leave and set up a similar business of their own just around the corner ) This clause is especially important for small businesses;
  6. Workplace Surveillance Act. A notice under the Workplace Surveillance Act must be given to an employee 14 days before surveillance commences.  As computer surveillance applies to most computer systems used in business, the best time to give the appropriate notice under the Workplace Surveillance Act in the Contract of Employment, or at least at the same time as the Contract of Employment is given to the employee.

Why was 1st July 2009 important?

New workplace laws were introduced on the 1st July 2009.  They changed many aspects relating to how businesses dismiss an employee. Small businesses, which have previously been exempted from certain requirements in relation to unfair dismissal, will need to learn how these changes affect them. If you need advice in regards to new unfair dismissal laws (Fair Work Act) we suggest you speak to us.  We will be able to assist you. You may find reading our seminar paper called “Fair Work Act 2009 Unfair Dismissal” helpful. There are two versions of the paper, one for employers of less than 15 people, and the other for employers of 15 people or more.

So, whatever industry you are in, make sure that you protect your business from “Hi” to “Goodbye”.

 


Dress Standards

Can employers set dress standards in the workplace?

Employers in general have the right to set dress and appearance standards at work as long as the requirements are related to the nature of the job, are reasonable in the circumstances, don’t differentiate based on sex, race or age and allow for exceptions for religious and cultural beliefs or people with disabilities. Cases in this area have upheld dress codes when they have been applied fairly and to all employees equally.

What can you do if an employee does not dress appropriately?

As an employer you could be well within your rights to express your concerns with this employee and ask the employee to improve their level of appearance when they are working. Alternatively it may be advisable to consider implementing a dress code for all employees covering these issues and any other appearance related concerns you might have. The benefit of this approach is that it will hold all employees to the same standard and it won’t single out one employee.
 


 

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580 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Phone No: +61 2 9267 9800
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Suite 4 Level 5
580 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: +61 2 9267 9800
Fax: +61 2 9283 2553