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What documents do you need to give employees on their first day of work?

You’ve sourced your preferred candidates, interviewed and shortlisted them following the validation of their right to work and completion of reference checks. You may also have administered a particular set of background checks, including perhaps an Australian Police Check, qualification check and/or financial background checks depending on their role and or industry.  

You’ve made the formal offer which has been verbally accepted, and you’re now preparing their onboarding checklist for day one. 

So what employment documents in Australia do you legally need to give your new employees as part of their first day? What makes up your day one, week one, month one onboarding checklist to make sure your obligations and industry compliance are completed? 

While the onboarding program will be different depending on the person’s role and responsibility, your new employee onboarding program does have some common requirements. It also needs to be streamlined to provide a great first impression and allow for you to focus less on administration and more on on the job training and getting your new employee up to speed. More importantly, it means all the key onboarding elements are covered from a legal perspective. 

Here’s a useful new employee checklist for employers to make sure the onboarding fine print is covered.

1. Fair Work Information Statement  

The Fair Work Ombudsman dictates that every Australian employer is to provide their new employees with a copy of the Fair Work Information Statement. This is a must-have for every new employee first day checklist. 

This Statement details the conditions of the employee or staff member’s employment, including: 

  • Flexibility arrangements 
  • Employment termination 
  • Right of entry 
  • National Employment Standards 
  • Workplace rights 

You can provide the Fair Work Information Statement in person or by mail, fax or email. 

If the new starter requests further information, or if you want to provide a resource to accompany the Statement, you can provide a link to the relevant resources on the Fair Work Ombudsman website. 

Although the Statement needs to be provided at the onboarding stage, you must provide a copy of the Statement to each employee when it is updated. The Statement is generally reviewed each year on or around 1st July, and the new Statement is published on the Fair Work website.

2. Casual Employee Information Statement

Companies who engage casual staff are also required by law to provide each individual with a copy of Fair Work Australia’s Casual Employee Information Statement before or as soon as possible after they have commenced their new role. 

The Statement outlines information about their conditions of employment and their rights, particularly surrounding casual conversion.  

You can download a copy of the Statement from the Fair Work website. It can be distributed electronically, in person or by mail. 

You need to have kept a record that you have delivered the Statement for audit purposes. 

3. Superannuation details  

The superannuation guarantee dictates the minimum percentage of earnings employers needs to pay into a worker’s super fund. This percentage is controlled and legislated by the Australian Government. It is compulsory for all employers to pay superannuation for all workers working and residing in Australia who earn more than AUD450 per month, including staff full-time, part-time and casual workers.  

Information and superannuation rates are set out by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) 

The primary form most employers need to give staff on their first day is a Super Choice Form. This allows the new starter to choose their superannuation fund. Or, if they don’t have one, you can nominate a default fund for them. 

4. Letter of Engagement 

According to Fair Work Australia, the new employee onboarding checklist must include a formal Letter of Engagement. This is an official employment document that acts as terms and conditions for the employment. It includes items such as: 

  • Start date 
  • Salary/Pay 
  • Hours of work 
  • Penalty rates & loading 
  • Leave entitlements 
  • Termination policies 

This is vital information for new employees, which can be issued to the employee digitally or in-person. Providing this in an in-person meeting allows you to explain the terms and gives the employee the opportunity to ask questions. 

The document then needs to be signed by both parties, with one copy given to the employee for their records. 

Note: Driver’s licences, Forklift licences and similar documents and accreditations that are required to work in a role must be provided by the employee before starting work. This can be obtained manually or by using an online document management system. 

5. Tax File Number (TFN)

Next on your new employee onboarding checklist on the ‘first day’ agenda is gaining the worker’s Tax File Number. This ensures you as an employer know how much tax to withhold from payments. 

This can be issued to the worker via a Tax File Declaration form.  

If the new starter does not have a TFN, they can apply for one here 

Note: it is a criminal offence in Australia to allow someone to work if they are in the country illegally, or in breach of their visa conditions. To avoid penalties, it’s important that you complete a  Citizenship & Work Rights Check on all new hires before they commence work. 

6. Emergency Contact Information  

Emergency contact information is vital information to gather on the first day of work. This is generally a next of kin name and contact information in case of an emergency. This information needs to be securely stored and accessible as part of the onboarding program. 

7. Health and Safety Training

Every onboarding checklist must include a health and safety induction to ensure all staff are equipped with the right knowledge and information to look after their (and their colleagues) health, safety and wellbeing at work.  

A good safety program will include safety principles closely aligned with their role and environment and the industry they are working. As a rule, bullying, discrimination, and harassment training, along with privacy training should also be part of the learning program, along with specific internal policies and processes. 

Don’t forget about staff who are working from home or ‘working from anywhere’. 

While a safety induction will minimise risk and protect staff and their colleagues from injury, in the event of an accident, it’s the legal responsibility of the employer to ensure that every worker has been provided instruction and training prior to or close to the day the newly onboarded employee commences work. 

8. Employee Vaccination Status

As of October 2021 in Australia, and March 2022 in New Zealand, Covid-19 vaccination has become mandated in certain workplaces, and strongly encouraged in others to reduce the risk of infection in the community. 

It is well documented that the vaccination evidence or Certificate is a health record, and therefore needs to be treated as a ‘sensitive document’. This means that although you need to sight the Certificate, you may not be able to retain the Certificate as part of the onboarding process. 

Ensure that you understand your legal responsibilities as it relates to what is an acceptable vaccination status for your industry and ensure that Covid-19 vaccination documentation is collected and stored in accordance with the regulations. Useful sources of information can be found through the Australian Government site and New Zealand Government. 

There are plenty of boxes to tick when it comes employee onboarding and workforce compliance but sorting out the documents above for your employees on their first day of work will ensure your obligations are met.  

WorkPro makes workforce screening, onboarding, and compliance simple with an all-in-one platform that aggregates background and probity checks, eLearning and document management to quickly mobilise teams and standardise common work compliance. To learn more about WorkPro, contact us to discuss how we can help you build a compliant onboarding program to suit your business. 

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