10 Useful HR Websites for Your Australian Small Business

You can find out all sorts of great stuff on how to manage your staff from the day you employ them to the day you say goodbye. However, you must be the most informed and the most advised.

Here are some useful sources of information that you should dip into so that you’re up-to-date with all of the latest research, statistics, trends, guides and laws that impact your obligations as a small-business employer in Australia.

Fair Work Commission

Fair Work Commission, the tribunal that makes all the decisions regulating what you can and can’t do, is probably a pretty good starting point from which you can build your library of useful resources. It tends to be a bit legalistic in its tone and therefore it’s more accessible to those small business owners that have a little bit of legal knowledge. Nevertheless, it has good guides on how the unfair and unlawful dismissal procedures are managed that you can download.

Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO)

For every system regulating employment relationships there is a policeman to make sure everyone complies. The Fair Work Ombudsman's role is to:

  • Educate people about their workplace rights and obligations, including providing an online and telephone information service

  • Investigate breaches of people’s workplace rights

  • Take cases to Court to enforce workplace laws

One of its most busy areas of enquiry is on wages and award conditions. You can email or telephone the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) during normal business hours or use one of the online calculators and tools.

Any information that you obtain from the FWO cannot necessarily be relied upon if you’re subsequently accused of a breach of award or the NES (National Employment Standards). It is an information service not an advisory service.

Western Australia stands proudly alone

If you operate a small business in Western Australia and are not covered by the national system (that is, you’re not incorporated) then information that you need is published by the Western Australian authorities.

Two agencies that provide information to enable you to comply with your legal obligations are:

Workplace rights and discrimination

There are multiple resources that you can access through state and federal government agencies with responsibility for administering Australia’s laws on workplace rights and discrimination. A good starting point is the Human Rights Commission. It has extensive resources to read and download and it has links to the state authorities and related federal agencies, such as the Fair Work Commission.

Safe Work Australia

Health and safety is everyone’s responsibility but it’s your job to make sure everyone is actually safe at work. Each state has its own agency administering health and safety laws, workers compensation, and rehabilitation services. Safe Work Australia has the job of coordinating all of these agencies. You can connect to the state sites from this website.

Australian Government

Say what you will about the evils of overbearing and unfeeling government, but there are some agencies that provide useful resources for small business. Try the Department of Industry. It has a section on small business that connects to government grants, the national business register, superannuation clearing house, a small business support line, and a range of publications on interesting topics. It also connects to the Australian Small Business Commissioner and the state counterparts.

Small business statistics

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has lots of relevant data for small businesses. It even has its own web page devoted to small business.

Taxation

Sorry folks, but taxation is a reality and keeping informed is important. You don’t always have to ask your accountant because the Australian Tax Office publishes most of the daily information that you need anyway, including

  • PAYG

  • PAYI

  • GST

  • FBT

  • Superannuation

  • Termination payments

  • Redundancy

  • Salary sacrifice

Independent contractors

There are in excess of one million independent contractors operating in Australia, many of whom will employ one or more staff during the course of their careers. There are lots of websites that provide information on who is and who isn’t a contractor and information on sham contracting. If you need more than just information, then you should go beyond the government websites. Pay a visit to Independent Contractors Australia, which is an independent association devoted to the interests of independent contractors working across all Australian industries.

Employee Relations Online for small business

The government agencies are pretty good at providing information on topics relevant to the employment of staff, but they can’t advise you on how best to manage your obligations as an employer under Australian employment laws. You need advice rather than information to solve problems. At Employee Relations Online, select the Small Business tab and open up an entire library of tools, guides and resources designed specifically for small business employers.

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