New online tool to help reduce red tape in employment contracts


The Australian government has introduced a new online tool that will guide small-business owners in drafting the proper employment contract, especially for their first employee. The Employment Contract Tool guides small-business owners through a series of questions to generate an employment contract based on the specific terms and conditions of the relevant award.

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Bruce Billson has welcomed the tool as beneficial to small-business owners seeking to expand their business while saving time, money, and possible legal troubles.

“This technology has been developed in close consultation with small-business owners to ensure it meets their needs in regards to making the hiring process far simpler,” Billson said.

“We know that small-business owners have found the experience of hiring their first staff member to be overwhelming. Research published by NAB shows a small business hiring its first worker can spend up to 18 hours understanding awards and pay rates and complying with taxation, OH&S and record-keeping obligations,” Billson added. “That’s about five times more than a large business with more than 200 employees, when hiring additional staff. Unfortunately this can lead small-business owners to delay their hiring plans or put it off altogether because they are afraid of making a mistake.”

The Ombudsman pointed out that The Employment Contract Tool has the potential to remove those “headwinds” by taking the employer through the process step-by-step, thereby giving them confidence they are meeting their legal obligations.

“Ultimately it is smart technological solutions like this that will cut red tape and reduce the regulatory burden on small-business owners to make Australia the best place to start, grow and transform a business,” Billson said. “The tool provides another support to help small-business employers navigate this difficult space, alongside the valuable role that industry and professional associations continue to play in this complex area.”

The Employment Contract Tool can be accessed by visiting