Hiring Staff

From understanding your employment options before advertising and recruiting without discrimination, to getting the right paperwork in place, we’re here to help.

Before you even advertise for a new staff member, there’s a few things you need to think about:

  • What exactly is the role you need them to do?
  • What are the skills that are important for the role?
  • Do you need someone for a fixed number of hours each week? Or will it be variable?
  • What sort of employment arrangement best meets your needs? Permanent, Fixed-term or casual? Employee or contractor?

Getting this stuff straight at the outset means your advertising will target the right people and helps avoid confusion later about the nature of your employment relationship. We can often help businesses through this process with just a quick chat over the phone.

Once you’ve got a few applicants for the job, it’s important to ensure you comply with the Privacy Act and the Human Rights Act when going through the interview/selection process. Among other things, this means:

  • Not contacting a prospective employee’s former employer without their permission;
  • Not discounting an applicant because of their age, gender or other prohibited ground of discrimination; and
  • Avoiding questions during an interview that indicate you may be taking a prohibited ground of discrimination into account, like asking a woman if she plans to have children.

Once you’ve decided on the person you want to hire, there’s the paperwork to take care of.  Most importantly, you need to make sure you have an employment agreement in place before an employee starts work (this is especially important if you have a 90 day trial period you may want to rely on later as it will not be valid if the agreement was signed after the employee started work).

Where can I get an employment agreement?

It is a legal requirement that every employee has a written employment agreement and there are certain things it must include, so we don’t recommend writing one yourself on the back of a napkin (it has been known to happen!).

There are templates and tools available online to generate employment agreements, but a word of warning about templates: they are designed to cover a lot of bases and they are not fool-proof. In particular, there may be clauses available in a template that you don’t realise you shouldn’t use, such as a 90 day trial if you have more than 19 employees or a redundancy clause in a casual agreement. There may be other clauses you’re not sure how to use, like a fixed-term genuine reason clause. There could also be some important clauses that do not appear in the template, but are very important to your business, such as a probationary period or a restraint of trade clause.

We believe there is no substitute for employment agreements tailor made for your business with your particular industry, operating environment and employees in mind. It’s what we do and we are here to help you. We have precedents we use as a starting point and adapt to a particular client’s needs, so it’s not as expensive as you might think. If you need an employment agreement for a particular employee or want to update the agreements of all your staff to something up to date and easy to understand, give us a call on 0800LEGAL1 or email info@wakefieldslaw.com.

More information

A bit of help to get your business on the right path when it comes to employment law is an investment that pays dividends. Having people engaged in the right way and employment agreements, contracts and policies tailored to your business lessens the risk of issues arising and makes it much simpler to deal with them if they do.

If you have contractors/employees or you’re thinking about hiring some – give us a call or send us an email to find out how we can help: 0800LEGAL1 or info@wakefieldslaw.com

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