As a small business owner in Australia, you have to know that being legally compliant relies on being aware of the rules and regulations that apply to the running of your business.
With this in mind, business.gov.au have outlined five legal issues below to help you stay compliant in 2014.
Privacy Act changes in March 2014
A new set of privacy principles will be introduced in March 2014. The new principles will cover how a business handles personal information, including the:
- handling and processing of personal information
- use of personal information for direct marketing purposes
- disclosing of personal information to people overseas.
The Privacy Act 1988 only applies to some small businesses. Try the 9 Step Privacy Checklist for Small Business to find out if it applies to your small business.
New Anti-bullying laws
As of 1 January 2014, people who believe they’re being bullied in the workplace can apply to the Fair Work Commission for help in resolving the issue.
Bullying occurs when a person or group of people, repeatedly behave unreasonably towards a worker. The behaviour also has to be deemed a risk to the worker’s health or safety.
Download the Anti-workplace bullying guide (PDF, 130KB) to find out more about bullying in the workplace.
Independent contractors are self-employed and provide a service to a business.
They often negotiate their own payments and working arrangements, and have the opportunity to work for a range of clients at any given time.
Before entering into a contract, you’ll need to determine whether someone is classified as an independent contractor. Their status will affect their rights and obligations. It’s possible for someone to be an employee for some work and an independent contractor for other work.
You also need to remember that it’s illegal to fire, or threaten to fire, an employee if they don’t agree to become a contractor.
It’s important to know whether you’re hiring an independent contractor or an employee, so you can be sure you’re complying with your legal obligations.
Try our Contractor decision tool to find out if someone is more likely to be an independent contractor or an employee.
Small businesses have different laws compared with larger businesses when it comes to unfair dismissal. Most small businesses (those with fewer than 15 employees) will fall under the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code .
If you are planning to terminate an employee, it’s important you follow the rules outlined in the Code.
If you operate a business, it’s likely you’ll need certain licences to make sure you’re complying with your legal obligations.
The Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) can help take the guess work out the licences, permits and registrations needed to run your business.
Search for your state and business type in ABLIS today!
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