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Managing Payroll - blog

Sharing the Load

Hopefully at some point there will come a time where you are no longer just a one person show and you’ve got some help on board.  There are many ways in which you can employ people these days.  Maybe, you contract someone for a specific task like establishing your website, maybe you hire someone for a specific period, like over Christmas, to help with busy times, or, maybe you need someone to help you on a more permanent basis.

Whatever, the circumstances of you hiring someone, as the business owner, it is up to you to ensure that you know what your legal obligations are in regards to staff, suppliers and contractors.  Do you need to have Workcover Insurance to indemnify you in case they are injured at work?  Do you need to have insurance cover in case someone in your employ causes any damage while representing your company?  Are they covered by any state or federal pay conditions?  What are the rates of pay and any penalties they may be entitled to?  Do you need to make provision for their pension funds or superannuation?  Is there any uniform requirement for your industry that you must provide?  Are there any additional staff costs that might be applicable?  For example,  we are liable to pay into a portable long service leave fund for all cleaning staff and this money must be remitted quarterly to the appropriate authority.  What are your tax obligation for anybody working for you?  We withhold tax from each employees wages fortnightly and then must remit it monthly to the tax department (inland revenue).

Keeping good records of all employees is a great start and can eliminate many future problems.  Ensure that you have up to date information for all staff including who you may contact in case of emergency.  You need to keep this current for at least the tax year, even if they have left your employemnt.  Having clear employment policies is also helpful and providing staff with clear, written instructions on what your policies are.  For example, we have a policy that there is no drunkeness or drug use permitted at any workplace and instant dismissal is the result of breaking this policy.  Clear policies about reporting for work, taking leave and sick leave are also beneficial.

You also need to be aware of what your legal requirements are regarding paying your employees.  On wage slips we need to show how many hours were worked, the rate per hour, the total gross amount, any tax withheld and the net pay that was made.  We also need to indicate if any pension payment resulted from this payment, any sick or annual leave payments and any other deductions that may have been incurred.  Legal requirements will vary depending on where you live.

Whether you write your payslips manually or use a computerised payroll system is up to you.  Personally, after having used computerised payroll for over 15 years I would recommend implementing this as your best option because it also allows for integrating with electronic payments which is an enormous time saver.  Having staff is one of the more obvious signs that your business is growing but remember while it can be great to have someone to share some of the burden, as the employer, it is your responsibility to make sure that it goes smoothly.

Till next time,

Sarah-Jane X

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