7 reasons to call an employment lawyer in your first year of business

Given we are celebrating our first birthday this month, we thought it was an opportune time to share our top 7 reasons why you should call an employment lawyer in your first year of business.

    Photography / Theresa Thompson

 

Photography / Theresa Thompson

 

  • Workforce Modelling - Knowing the difference between various different types of employment and the rights, obligations and costs associated with each is essential for any new business. Labour costs are one of the biggest threats to every new business and with Australia having some of the highest labour costs in the world, having an employment lawyer assist with workforce modelling and advising on what mix of employees will keep your labour costs to a minimum, is money well spent.

  • Contracts: Once you have worked out how your workforce will be structured, it is important that your paperwork accurately reflects this and covers off other important rights and obligations of the employees. A lawyer can help you draft tailored employment contracts that suit your business and will offer your business the protection it needs for year 1 and beyond.

  • Social media – Love it or hate it, let’s be honest, social media can make or break any new business. A social media or digital marketing strategy is one thing but setting the Company expectations around employees’ and contractors’ use of social media is just as important. A social media policy setting out what employees and contractors can and can’t do on different forms of social media, both within and outside of working hours, is a very cheap way to minimise the chance of employees and contractors making costly mistakes for the business.  

  • Flexible work – Start-ups often attract the talent they can’t otherwise afford with promises of flexible work. Putting your money where your mouth is the easy part, but what about work health and safety issues associated with working from home and what happens when someone you have afforded that flexibility is taking advantage of it.  There are some simple things that a lawyer can help you with like a flexible work agreement, to ensure you have the right checks and balances in place to get the most out of those working flexibly and the power to change those arrangements when things aren’t working out.  

  • Contractors – When a business is first starting out, it is not uncommon to rely on contractors during special projects or peak periods.  However businesses need to be very careful that they don’t expose themselves to unnecessary risk in doing so. Understanding what factors make someone a contractor at law and planning your arrangements to minimise legal risk can be a very worthwhile investment. Not to mention documenting the arrangement in a clear and concise contractor agreement so that everyone is on the same page.

  • Performance management – Your people are your business. Making sure you have the knowledge and courage to weed out the rotten eggs is of paramount importance.  Calling a lawyer to walk you through this process is a very wise move, particularly if the employee is eligible to bring an unfair dismissal claim. With 1 in 4 conciliated unfair dismissal claims resulting in a payment of between $2000 and $4000, it makes more commercial sense to get a couple of hours of legal advice to ensure your case is rock solid in the event you are hit with a claim.

  • Training leaders – It’s “tough at the top”. The responsibility of Directors and Managers these days (of businesses of all sizes) is immense.  Their mere “involvement” in contraventions can see them held liable for breaches of the Fair Work Act.  If the leaders aren’t trained on workplace rights, appropriate workplace behaviour and work, health and safety (amongst other things), your business is leaving itself very exposed. You need your leaders setting the standards and moulding the workplace culture - and training from qualified legal experts is the best way to do it.

If you would like to learn more about how we can help your business or take advantage of our special birthday offer* for any new business entities that engage our services in the month of July 2015, contact THE WORKPLACE.

The copyright in this blog is owned by The Workplace – Employment Lawyers Pty Ltd.  The content is general information only and is not intended to constitute, or be relied upon as, legal advice.  The use of this blog by any person or company does not create any solicitor-client relationship between the person or company and The Workplace – Employment Lawyers Pty Ltd.

* We would like to send all new business entities that engage our services in the month of July 2015 a $150 Good Food Gift Card (subject to terms and conditions of Good Food Gift Cards).