2 April 2019

When Does Your Start Up Need an Employee Agreement and What It Should Cover

Top 10 Considerations for Start Ups Nadia Sabaini
Nadia Sabaini Commercial Lawyer

So you have decided to start a new business? You have a novel idea or a better way of doing things? What’s next?

Our business advisory director, Nadia Sabaini, has developed a valuable 10-part guide for budding entrepreneurs looking to turn their idea into a reality.

In this guide, Nadia has identified the top 10 actions to consider before embarking on a new business journey.  These considerations are invaluable knowledge for start-ups and can help maneuver your business down the right path with the appropriate awareness for the business environment in which you intend to operate.


#8: Don’t forget to sign employee agreements

All businesses should have an employee agreement in place with all employees, from executives to casuals, this includes employees covered by a Modern Award.

Modern Awards only provide for the primary terms of employment and there are other matters that you may want addressed. These may include:

  • an acknowledgement of key company policies;
  • agreed procedure for complaints, warning and dismissal;
  • confidentiality obligations;
  • restraint of trade obligations;
  • use and return of company property;

If you are working with a business consultant, they may provide you with a pro-forma employment agreement to use, but consider if you should engage a lawyer to prepare one tailored to your business.

Be careful of the trap of engaging an employee as an independent contractor to avoid employee obligations.  The law will class an independent contractor as an employee in certain circumstances, including where they are not permitted to or generally do not work for others, or have little discretion in the hours they work or how they perform their tasks.

Keep in mind that the fact that you are paying a worker more than the base rate does not imply that they will not be entitled to penalties and other entitlements.  When additional pay is in lieu of entitlements, this must be explained in the employment agreement and is subject always to the requirements of any applicable Modern Award and the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), so check before putting any such terms in place.

Visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website for useful information such as minimum terms of employment, calculating wages and leave entitlements.

If you are employing a foreign person, you must verify that they hold the appropriate VISA to work in Australia. If you are providing a sponsorship arrangement, ensure that you have taken independent legal advice on your obligations.

For more information regarding your start-up journey, download the full guide below or contact us today.


What’s next? #9: Have Your Lawyer Prepare Your Terms and Conditions


Read from the beginning: #1: How to Make a Real Business Plan for Your Start Up


This guide is provided by way of general assistance only and for marketing purposes. Please contact us to discuss your personal situation and further information you may need.


Individual liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation (personal injury work exempted).

Download the full guide

Learn more about your start-up journey today


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