Important information for purchasers taking on employees

 In Law

Employers in Australia have obligations under State and federal laws which must be complied with.
Directors, managers and supervisors can be held personally liable under some of these laws, including for damages and penalties. Given this, we recommend you seek specialist legal advice regarding these obligations.

Key areas of compliance
Important obligations that employers taking on employees in a business purchase must comply with
include:

  • the obligation to provide employees a copy of the Fair Work Information Statement;
  • obligations to carry over particular employee entitlements, such as entitlements to personal (sick and carer’s) leave and other entitlements;
  • obligations to have copies of applicable awards and the National Employment Standards available at all workplaces;
  • the obligation to comply with all awards, enterprise agreements or other instruments that apply. This includes terms about rates of pay, loadings and allowances as well as nonfinancial obligations (such as regarding rostering, breaks, consultation, etc);
  • employee records and pay slip obligations (including the obligation to request a copy of employee records from the seller, and to maintain employee records into the future);
  • obligations under workplace health and safety laws, State and federal anti-discrimination laws, the workers’ compensation regime, workplace surveillance limitations, obligations to pay superannuation and withhold tax, and all other obligations under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and other workplace laws.

Opportunity to protect your business

The purchase of a business can also be an opportune time to take steps to protect the business from employment related legal claims in the future. For example, by putting in place simple employment contracts that protect the business, and assist with compliance with workplace laws.

There are also opportunities prior to taking on the employees in a business purchase, that can only be exercised before the business sale is completed (such as to restart the probationary period for unfair dismissal laws).

Where to go for assistance
For legal advice, you can contact a workplace relations solicitor, such as Denise O’Reilly at O’Reilly
Workplace Law (07 5535 9979, info@oreillyworkplacelaw.com.au ).

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