What Rights Do I Have as an Employer in Australia?
Australian employment law is complex and provides a significant amount of protection for employers and employees alike. Every employee knows that they have rights – rights to a minimum pay rate, rights to holidays and sick leave and rights to a fair working environment, among other things – but did you know that numerous employer rights also exist?
In many cases, employer rights are overshadowed by employee rights and the potential for legal action if they accidentally break the law. In the rest of this article, we’ve covered Australian employer rights, what you can reasonably expect as an employer, and everything else you need to know.
In Australia, employers have the right to:
Hire and Dismiss Workers Within the Scope of the Law
While employees have a lot of rights in this area, it’s certainly possible for employers to hire and fire workers as required without the risk of legal action, as long as they do so within the scope of the law. This includes:
- Not discriminating between employees or potential employees based on their race, gender, sexuality, or anything else.
- Following any terms and conditions outlined within an employment contract, including paid parental leave, providing enough notice and/or paying all outstanding benefits when a contract is terminated which can be classed as unfair dismissal.
- Providing an equal opportunity, equal pay work environment without a gender pay gap or other pay inequalities.
As you can see, this can be quite a complicated area. However, it’s not something to worry about too much. Every employer’s situation is different, but the bottom line is that you can hire and fire as necessary as long as you follow the rules
Meanwhile, employers also have the right to ask an employee or potential employee about their mental or physical health. The answers to these questions can’t be used to discriminate against certain employees, but they can help an employer determine whether a candidate is suitable for the job and whether or not working conditions need to be adjusted.
Expect Reasonable Performance from all Staff
Finally, employers have the right to expect reasonable performance from every single member of their team. Although this may sound self-explanatory, it unfortunately isn’t. It’s quite amazing how many employees have a sense of entitlement that they exploit within the workplace.
In general, it’s not unreasonable to expect an employee to be able to perform as well as, or at least close to the level of other employees. If you’re having issues with a worker’s performance, the best thing to do will be to sit down and have a chat to them in an attempt to resolve the situation peacefully. Failing this, you may be able to terminate their contract.
In general, we hear a lot more about employee rights than employer rights. However, Australian employers do still have plenty of rights, and we’ve outlined a few of the most common above. Note that this is far from an exhaustive list, and it could be worth speaking with an employment lawyer or other legal professional if you need more information.