Hiring a new employee is an important decision for your business. There are some things you should know when you’re hiring staff, especially if you’re doing it for the first time.

Hiring employees checklist

If you’re new to hiring staff, use the business.gov.au – Hiring employees checklist external-icon.png to make sure you get things right at the start.

Using this information will help you meet Australian laws when hiring. It includes laws about:

  • discrimination
  • minimum pay rates
  • employee entitlements
  • tax and super.

Go to the business.gov.au – Hiring employees checklist external-icon.png.

Know the law (and the costs)

Before hiring someone, you need to know:

  • whether they will be full-time, part-time or casual
  • which award or agreement will apply
  • the minimum wage for the role (and whether your business can afford it).

Full-time, part-time or casual

An employee can be hired as:

It’s important to know whether your employee will be full-time, part-time or casual because pay rates, leave and other entitlements can be different for each.

A casual employee can ask their small business employer to convert their employment from casual to permanent (full-time or part-time) if they meet certain requirements. This is also known as casual conversion.

For more information, see:

Awards and agreements

Most small businesses are covered by an award. Sometimes larger workplaces, such as a group of businesses, are covered by agreements instead of an award.

You can use Find my award to find out which award will apply to your new employee. Find out if your workplace is covered by a registered agreement on the Fair Work Commission website – Find an agreement external-icon.png.


You can use our Pay Calculator to work out what you’ll need to pay a new employee. It will also help you work out which award will apply and if you have to pay employees extra for working overtime or on weekends, known as penalty rates.

Job ads

Job advertisements (ads) can't include pay rates that breach:

  • the Fair Work Act, or
  • a fair work instrument (such as an award or enterprise agreement).

For more information visit Job ads.

The hiring process

Once you’ve done the background preparation and decided that hiring an employee is the right step for you, you can start the hiring process. We understand this can be daunting, so we’ve created a free online course that covers the basics, including:

  • creating a job description and advertising the position
  • shortlisting and interviewing candidates
  • making a job offer
  • setting up a proper induction to make sure your employee feels welcomed and equipped to do their job.

Access the free Hiring employees online course through our Online learning centre.

You can use the business.gov.au – Employment Contract Tool external-icon.png to build an employment contract that’s tailored to your business needs and complies with workplace laws.

To use the tool, your employee must be:

  • full-time, part-time or casual
  • covered by an award
  • paid an hourly or weekly wage.

The Employment Contract Tool isn’t for every worker. It can’t be used for:

  • employees who’ll be paid a salary
  • apprentices and trainees
  • seasonal workers
  • independent contractors, or
  • employees covered by registered agreements.

Use the business.gov.au – Employment Contract Tool external-icon.png.

Other things to be mindful of during the hiring process are:

  • work rights and visas
  • tax and superannuation
  • workplace health and safety obligations
  • discrimination and other protections for employees
  • checking licenses and qualifications.

Get more information on these and other considerations using the business.gov.au – Hiring employees checklist external-icon.png.

Information to give your new employees

Before your employee starts their new job, or as soon as possible after, you must give them a copy of the following documents:

The FWIS provides new employees with information about their conditions of employment, including the National Employment Standards.

The CEIS sets out the definition of a casual employee and how the employee can request conversion to permanent (full-time or part-time) employment. It also explains how to resolve disputes about casual conversion.