Employers are required to give a copy of the Fair Work Information Statement to all new employees either prior to when they start employment, or as soon as practicable thereafter.
The statement sets out details of the basic rights all employees receive, in particular those contained within the National Employment Standards (NES).
Periodically, the Fair Work Ombudsman updates the Fair Work Information Statement such as when there are changes to employment law (eg when the minimum wage increases each July), or, as it has done so recently, to deal with the introduction of a new entitlement such as Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave.
It is very important that employers give new employees a copy of the current Fair Work Information Statement, which can be downloaded here. The current version is dated “February 2023”.
What other documents do I need to give employees when they start employment?
All casual employees must also be provided with the Casual Employment Information Statement (which has not been updated since November 2022), available here.
If a modern award applies to your employees, the award will usually require a copy of the award to be provided to them, as well as a copy of the National Employment Standards which are contained within the Fair Work Act.
For example, the Hair and Beauty Industry Award 2020 states at clause 3.4:
“3.4 The employer must ensure that copies of this award and of the NES are available to all employees to whom they apply, either on a notice board conveniently located at or near the workplace or through accessible electronic means.”
A copy of the National Employment Standards is available here.
It is generally considered acceptable to provide these documents by providing links to the websites that contain the documents.
Most awards also state that employees must be given details of their classification level under the award and told whether they are full-time, part-time or casual (see clauses 8.2 and 13.3 of the Hair and Beauty Industry Award, for example).
Many awards also have strict provisions for part-time employees including that they must be given a written agreement setting out their exact start and finish times, the days they will work each week and the total number of hours they will work. It is not possible, in those circumstances just to state “You will work 20 hours per week”. In the Hair and Beauty Industry Award, it states this, for example:
“10.3 At the time of engaging a part-time employee, the employer and the employee must agree in writing on a regular pattern of work. That agreement must include at least all of the following:
(a) the number of ordinary hours to be worked each day; and
(b) the days of the week on which the employee will work; and
(c) the times at which the employee will start and finish work each day; and
(d) when meal breaks may be taken and their duration; and
(e) that the daily engagement is a minimum of 3 consecutive hours;and
(f) that any variation will be in writing, including by any electronic means of communication.
10.4 The employer and the employee may vary an agreement made under clause 10.3. Any variation must be recorded in writing before the variation occurs.
If you require any help understanding your obligations regarding providing documentation to employees when they start employment, please contact us.
About HR Connect
HR Connect is one of Australia’s leading providers of HR and workplace safety advice service, designed to help small business owners make confident and compliant business decisions.
If you need any guidance on these changes or how to apply these to your employees, please reach out to the HR Connect team for further assistance.
The information provided in these blog articles is general in nature and is not intended to substitute for professional advice. If you are unsure about how this information applies to your specific situation we recommend you contact HR Connect for advice.