HR Consultancy in Australia

IRIS HR consulting has experience helping businesses expand into Australia. Without expert guidance, it can otherwise be risky to leave local laws and legislation open to interpretation. For a scalable, compliant operation, IRIS can manage your HR in Australia to help businesses hire, recruit, and pay staff overseas. When it comes to the most complicated barriers to hiring new staff overseas, Australian employment laws could be a hinderance. But if you tap into local expertise from global HR constants, we can demystify this process on your behalf.

As a popular destination for businesses, IRIS can navigate local barriers – from culture to compliance – to arrive at a rewarding opportunity for your business to thrive in this exciting marketplace.

Take your business to Australia with IRIS HR Consulting.

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    Global expansion in Australia

    Australia is one of the largest, most attractive, and renowned economies outside of Europe, The Americas, or Asia. Australia has strong foreign relations, including ties to other global powerhouses such as America, South Korea, Japan, The UK, and China. Not only geographically neighbouring Asia, but Australia also manages a role in the modern Commonwealth, a political collective of nations.

    For global business expansion, Australia has open borders. Not only is Australia’s main business language English, but the country is culturally similar to the USA. As an international partner, Australia is known for its involvement in foreign markets, both in terms of consumption and trade. As a result of its foreign activities, Australia has built a political and economic setting that is supportive of global businesses. Whilst it may be a smaller market than others, Australia distinguishes its culture through innovation and productivity that is founded on its human capital. Australia’s population is largely educated and affluent and, because of its similarities, cultural barriers are non-issues for those looking to hire from its talent pool.  

    A Guide to Employing Staff in Australia

    Everything you need to know about the employment laws and compliance requirements in this country

    Australia’s role in the Commonwealth

    A country of many connections, Australia is a founding member of what’s now considered the modern Commonwealth. It’s taken a position as a leading participant in in Commonwealth organisations, programs, and meetings for more than 70 years. From its many accolades as a member, Australia supports human rights, democratic ideas, and guides governance norms between its other participants. The Commonwealth, as Australia recognises it, is not an exclusively political organisation, but also one about economic growth and sustainability.

    Australia uses the Commonwealth to strength its own sense of democracy, but also to promote development – which means growing out prosperity, shrinking poverty and working to built a stable business environment.  

    Yet, businesses planning to expand into Australia will need a compliant operation with local laws and legislation. To discover how an expansion could be rewarding for you business, you will need an international employment expert to help your business enter the global stage. IRIS HR Consultancy can help your business reach this new market.

    Establishing your business in Australia

    Embarking on a global expansion is more often a strategic move to extract value from foreign markets. But the international stage isn’t always easy to navigate.

    It can take only minutes to register your business, but that depends on the type and structure of your operation. When starting a business in Australia, you will need to check certain boxes to ensure your operation is complaint and recognised by the local authority, too. Some of the key early points to address include:

    • Register your business according to a structure (which will likely be a company, but could be a partnership, or trust) and business type (are you online, a franchise or independent?) These choices will shape the obligations of your business.
    • Acquire an Australian Business Number (ABN), which is a legal requirement.
    • Avoid legal fallout by opting into the correct taxations, such as the compulsory Good and Services Tax (GST)
    • Depending on certain business types, activities and locations, you may need to register of licences and permits.

    Employment laws in Australia

    When first expanding into Australia, understanding local employment, labour laws and remaining complaint is not always easy. These laws are not always universal. Rather, employment is reflected in local policies and is constantly changing.

    The Fair Work Act 2009 is the main statute governing employment in Australia, whilst statute law also exists at State and Territory level.

    Did you know?

    The NES provides employees with 12 months’ continuous service with the right to request a flexible working arrangement  provided they meet the eligibility criteria.

    Employment contracts in Australia

    The conditions of employment, including the compensation, salary (in Dollars), benefits, working hours, and termination information should be captured in the contract, award or agreement. When appropriate these documents should try to capture additional details, such as allowances, job standards, any bonus pay, and other job duties and policies.

    Awards are, generally, less popular nowadays and outlay the minimum employment standards and conditions per job. This can vary depending on region, contractor, or industry. These might capture the following:

    • Rates of pay
    • Employment type (full or part time)
    • If any overtime is included
    • Salary expectations  
    • Leave
    • End of service expectations

    An Enterprise Agreement, however, establishes the working conditions for staff in an organisation. These are usually more valuable than awards and will, typically, outline more details for a job (concerning wages, for example).

    Written contracts, unlike other offers, detail wages and working conditions in depth. Where another working offer, such as an award or agreement are not covering employment, a contract may be used to cover staff. These usually capture:

    • Details of employee
    • Date of birth
    • Working title and location
    • Contract start and end points
    • Wages
    • Working week hours
    • Employment status (part or full time)

    Hiring & recruitment in Australia

    When getting your first hire in Australia, you can offer workers a contract, an agreement, or award. This is strictly in guidance of the National Employment Standards, including state and federal laws.

    Australia visas and work permits

    Whilst Australia is known for high employment rates, there are still local employment laws that companies expanding into this market will need to consider. Obtaining an Australian work visa is mandatory for expats prior to assuming a role in this country.

    Where this can start to feel complicated, Australian work permits can be issued for a variety of reasons, including those across different professions.

    Different types of Australian work visas include:

    • Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) visa
    • Skilled Independent visa
    • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme
    • Skilled Nominated visa
    • Temporary Skilled Shortage Visa
    • Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) visa
    • Skilled Regional or Professional visa
    • Temporary work (international relations) visa
    • Distinguished talent visa
    • Business talent visa, which is permanent

    Equal Opportunities in Australia

    The Australian Government takes a strong stand on issues of equal opportunity and extends them into diversity in the workplace. Equal opportunity means not only discriminatory gestures are strictly forbidden – before, during or after employment – but also that businesses are proactively encouraged to hatch flexible working plans and arrangements that enables a diverse workforce.

    What are the working hours in Australia?

    Working hours can vary depending on the conditions of employment, whether the contract is for a full or part time role.

    The nationally recognised standards, according to the NES (National Employment Standards), regulates a 38-hour working week or 7.6 hours a day, but extra hours are allowed if necessary. That works out a normal day between 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday to Friday. These guidelines are informed by the National Employment Standards.

    Working overtime in Australia

    If time spills over the contracted hours, then overtime can accrue at a different hourly rate. Although, it’s not uncommon for organisations to expect “reasonable” overtime, which may not receive this benefit. This benefit should be negotiated with the employer.

    Long Service in Australia

    Depending on the relevant State/Territory law or industrial instrument, an employee may be entitled to long service leave after a period of continuous service ranging from 7 to 15 years with the same or a related employer.

    Maternity leave and Parental Allowance in Australia

    This benefit ensures that parental leave is covered by the federal government. The eligibility for parental leave is a maximum of 18 weeks paid leave in addition to any leave already captured in an employment agreement – such as vacation and sick absence.

    This benefit has gained some controversy in Australian, with calls to curtail benefits. Instead, the existing parental leave benefit– encompassing maternity leave and paternity leave – is subjected to the following conditions:

    • The employee must be the primary carer of a newborn.
    • The employee can be the primary carer of a newly adopted child, too.

    The employee must have worked the following:

    • 10 out of 13 months before the birth of a child.
    • 10 out 13 months before the adoption of a child.
    • 330 hours (within that 10-13-month period), which equals one-day a week, and cannot have more than an eight-week gap between two working days.

    The employee must have:

    • Met the basic residence requirements from having a child under their care up until the end of the Paid Parental Leave period.
    • Has received a taxable income up to $150,000 or less in the last financial year, before the date of birth or adaption.
    • Take absence from the time of care up until the end of Parental Leave.

    For fathers, there is eligibility to claim for up to two-weeks of paid leave from the government, if not covered under their employment with a business. But they must meet the minimum income to be eligible for this benefit.

    Vacation in Australia

    As outlined by employment in Australia, vacation should be defined by the employer. For fulltime employees, the basic entitlement is four weeks for year, yet commonly businesses will offer 25 to 30 days for vacation.

    In addition to this, vacation time follows certain rules:

    • Annual leave can accumulate from year to year if it’s untaken.
    • Untaken holiday time must be paid out on the termination of the employment.
    • Public holidays and sick leave are not deducted from vacation time.

    Public Holidays in Australia

    In total, there are seven national public holidays’ in Australia:

    • New Year’s Day
    • Australia Day
    • Good Friday
    • Easter Monday
    • Anzac Day
    • Christmas
    • Boxing Day

    Retirement & pension in Australia

    Retirement benefits are not subjected to a fixed age in Australia. The average age, however, is increasing in Australia, where in the last five years people retired at 62.9 years.

    Instead, you can normally expect the benefit, or super, to release when you meet certain requirements.

    • An employment contract ceases after the age of 60.
    • You turn 65, even if you remain in the workforce.
    • Reach preservation age.

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    End of Service

    HR in Australia means being compliant throughout an employee’s service, including the end of it. End of service might include severance, termination, redundancy, and leaving packages. For globally mobile companies with teams entering foreign markets, this could include repatriation services for those returning from an assignment overseas.

    For these more complicated matters, where errors are costly, you will need expert HR consulting in order to comply with Australian employment laws.


    Prior to termination, an employer must offer notice depending on the length of service:

    • Less than one year’s service: one week’s notice.
    • Between one year and three years’ service: two weeks’ notice.
    • Between three years’ and five years’ service: three weeks’ notice.
    • More than five years’ service: four weeks’ notice.

     Yet contracts can accommodate to longer notice periods, but these details must be captured in a contract to be recognised.

    Unfair Dismissal in Australia

    Eligibility for this benefit is unlocked when an employee is covered by the national workplace relations systems and they met the minimum employment period:

    • One year for small businesses (or less than 15 staff) 
    • Six months for any business larger.

    Eligibility is also subject to the following applying:

    • An award that covers this benefit
    • An enterprise agreement covers this benefit

    A case can be filed within 21 days from the day the dismissal was activated. This should be filed with the Fair Work Commission.

    In scenarios where, unfair dismissal sides with the plaintiff, the usual award is reinstatement or compensation for up to six months of pay.

    Redundancy (or Severance) in Australia

    Redundancy is triggered when a role is terminated by an employer. Roles, rather than employees, are made redundant. This usually occurs when the following happens:

    • The job is replaced by technology
    • Staff reduction
    • A merger or acquisition
    • A restructure
    • Insolvency

    Redundancy is, however, not always entitled, especially when:

    • The employer is a small business (15 staff or fewer)
    • The employee has served less than 12 months
    • Serious misconduct
    • A contract specifies dates
    • An apprentice or casual employee is not covered by this benefit.

    The benefit can be calculated as such:

    Employee’s Period of Continuous Service with the EmployerSeverance Pay Period
         At least 1 year but less than 2 years4 weeks
         At least 2 years but less than 3 years6 weeks
         At least 3 years but less than 4 years7 weeks
         At least 4 years but less than 5 years8 weeks
         At least 5 years but less than 6 years10 weeks
         At least 6 years but less than 7 years11 weeks
         At least 7 years but less than 8 years13 weeks
         At least 8 years but less than 9 years14 weeks
         At least 9 years but less than 10 years16 weeks
         At least 10 years*12 weeks*

    Social security in Australia

    Benefits are regulated and funded by the Commonwealth government and are financed through general taxation. Eligibility is determined by residence and by need. Employers can expect to pay between 30% and 35% of salary, depending on the jurisdiction in which they are based.

    Worker compensation

    It is a mandatory requirement throughout Australia for all employers to secure Workers’ Compensation insurance.

    Supplemental benefits

    • Occupational Pension

    Private retirement plans in Australia are generally referred to as “Superannuation” (or Super). The Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act 1992 stipulates that employer contribute a minimum of 9.5% of salary.

    • Health Insurance

    Employer-sponsored private medical insurance plans are becoming increasingly popular. Most employers are offering to fund this insurance 100% for both the employee and their dependents however few companies do ask for a co-contribution towards dependent coverage.

    • Death & Disability Insurance

    An employee’s superannuation will generally include automatic cover for term life or disability insurance up to a certain amount. There may also be a facility to “top-up” your cover for a nominated additional cost.

    Why Partner With IRIS?

    When entering new, exciting countries in foreign markets, like Australia, you will need an employment specialist to navigate the parts of Australian employment laws. Delivering a compliant solution, IRIS can help your business arrive into new marketplaces whilst protecting your workforce – our partners can discover power and protection through us.

    Overseas expansions can seem risky to those who dare it alone. Understanding the complexity of a fully compliant solution, IRIS can help businesses establish a foreign branch in Australia without the hassle.

    Our cost-effective, knowledgeable approach to HR in Australia makes us an ideal partner to commence your overseas plans.