Small business

Business person on a signpost looking through a telescope
Are you a small business owner?

Visit our new virtual Small Business Showcase for more tailored information and useful resources to help you meet your workplace obligations.

Small businesses play a vital role in the economy. We understand the unique challenges you face in meeting your workplace relations responsibilities.

We're here to help you get it right and provide you with information and resources you can rely on.

On this page find help for:

Getting started

The basics

Learn the basics of the Fair Work workplace relations system with our Small business best practice guide. It explains minimum employment conditions, record-keeping, pay slips, unfair dismissal laws and other responsibilities.

The Fair Work Handbook  (DOCX 327.7KB)(PDF 645.5KB) is a useful reference guide that summarises your responsibilities under the Fair Work Act 2009, the National Employment Standards, awards, enterprise agreements and other registered agreements.

Hiring employees

Check out our free online short courses on hiring employees, managing performance and having difficult conversations in the workplace at our Online learning centre.

Find specialised resources and tips to help you employ the right person for your business on our Hiring employees page.

If you’re new to hiring staff, a good place to start is the – Hiring employees checklistexternal-icon.png.

You can use the – Employment Contract Toolexternal-icon.pngto build an employment contract that’s tailored to your business needs and complies with workplace laws.

My account

Register for My account to get personalised workplace law information at your fingertips. You'll also be able to:

  • use web chat to ask a quick question about workplace laws
  • submit an enquiry to ask for our help with more complex questions or to sort out a workplace issue
  • save results from our Pay, Shift, Leave and Notice and Redundancy Calculators
  • save your favourite pages from our site, including award summaries from Find my award.

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Record-keeping and pay slips

Easy compliance starts with good record-keeping. With the right paperwork in place you can:

  • calculate wages, leave and other entitlements accurately
  • reduce the overall time spent on payroll processing
  • audit your own records to find any mistakes
  • resolve any disputes over pay and other entitlements more easily
  • avoid fines for not keeping the right records.

For downloadable templates, information on what records you need to keep and what has to be on a pay slip, see our Pay slips and Record-keeping pages.

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Finding the right pay

Find links to information about minimum wages, penalty rates, overtime and allowances on our Pay page.

Calculate minimum wages, including penalty rates, overtime and allowances:

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Calculating leave

Learn about the types of leave employees can take including:

Calculate annual, sick and carer’s leave using our Leave Calculator.

For downloadable leave application templates and leave record templates, visit our Templates page.

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Managing employees

Learn more about:

    Take our free online short course in managing employees or managing performance at our Online learning centre.

    Download useful templates, including performance agreements, underperformance meeting plans, warning letters and checklists from our Templates page.

    Help resolving workplace issues

    Find out what we can help with, how we help and where to go if we can’t help at our Fixing a workplace problem page.

    To make it easier for small business to resolve workplace issues and other business issues, the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman provides information to help businesses better understand and manage their dispute, including:

      Visit the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman's website external-icon.png to find out more.

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      Ending employment

      Learn more about:

      Take our free online short course in having difficult conversations at our Online learning centre.

      Download termination of employment template letters from our Templates page.

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      Audit your payroll regularly

      Minimum wages and conditions change, as can your employees’ job roles and responsibilities can change over time.

      Use our Employer Checklist (PDF 205.7KB) to test your knowledge and make sure you’re on top of things. You can also use our Guide to self-auditing your business (DOCX 97.5KB)  (PDF 1.2MB) for information on how to conduct a self-audit of your business. 

      Try our Workplace Basics quiz to test your knowledge about everyday workplace issues like pay, leave, record keeping, termination and more.

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      Stay up to date

      To get alerts with information that’s relevant to you sign up for our email update service.

      You can also sign up to receive our Newsletter and every 2 months you’ll get information sent to your email account to help you keep up-to-date on issues about employment at the time you need to know.

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      Small Business Helpline

      You can call our Small Business Helpline for quick and easy access to workplace relations advice. Contact the Helpline by calling 13 13 94 and pressing option 3.

      Prefer to chat to us online? Login to My account now to use web chat between 8.30am – 5pm AEST, Monday to Friday.

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      Employer Advisory Service

      Our Employer Advisory Service (EAS) gives eligible small businesses free tailored written advice on pay and entitlement issues.

      The EAS helps small business employers make informed decisions about employee entitlements and other workplace issues, including:

      • entitlements under the National Employment Standards
      • award provisions
      • other pay and employee entitlements.

      The service assists employers in understanding and complying with pay and entitlement obligations under awards and the Fair Work Act.

      If you’re a small business employer, learn more about the service, to see if you’re eligible and find out how to access it at Employer Advisory Service – overview.

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      Supporting the mental wellbeing of small business owners

      Running a small business can sometimes involve challenges that affect mental health. Beyond Blue has a range of resources to support your mental wellbeing external-icon.png.

      It’s often those we work with, along with our families and friends, who are the first to notice mental health challenges. Recognising this, Beyond Blue have a guide for those who work with or support small business owners external-icon.png that includes:

      • how to provide immediate support to someone who’s distressed
      • recognising the signs of poor mental health
      • planning and having a conversation with someone you’re concerned about
      • what to do if the person doesn’t want to talk about their mental health
      • how small business owners can improve their situation.

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      Useful links

      Other organisations to help you in managing your obligations include:

      • the Australian Taxation Office external-icon.png for information about tax and superannuation
      • your local workplace health and safety body for information about workplace safety and workers compensation. Visit our Workers compensation page for a list of workplace health and safety bodies
      • external-icon.png for advice and support for starting and running your business including information about different business structures
      • the Australian Securities and Investments Commission external-icon.png for information on the role and duties of company directors.
      • the Fair Work Commission's Workplace Advice Service external-icon.png for free legal advice (if eligible) about dismissal, general protections or workplace bullying.
      • the Fair Work Commission's New Approaches program external-icon.png supports employers and employees to work together to manage workplace conflict.

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      Want to save this information for later?

      If you might need to read this information again, save it for later so you can access it quickly and easily.

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