Why Signed Employee Agreements are Vital to your Business Compliance


In Australia, it is a legal requirement for all employees to be provided with an employment contract. Whilst this can be done verbally, it is not advisable as the contract must include all ten of the entitlements and conditions from the National Employment Standards (NES), plus any terms applicable under the relevant Modern Award or Agreement, depending on the type of assignment they are undertaking.

It’s unlikely your candidate, no matter how brilliant, would be able to retain all that information if they’ve only been provided it verbally. Should there come a time where you’re in dispute with the employee, there will be no way of proving you have done your bit in fully disclosing the conditions of employment.

Another factor to consider is whether you are covered by one of the recent Labour Hire licensing schemes recently established in Queensland, Victoria and South Australia. Under these laws, the decision to only provide your employee with verbal information leaves you further exposed, with penalties for a breach ranging from $130,000 plus three years imprisonment for an individual to more than $500,000 for corporations, not to mention the potential damage to your company’s reputation.


What is your current process and how closely do you follow it?

Best practice is, of course, to provide a written contract to all employees, regardless of whether they’re working a four-hour shift or a six-month contract. Gone are the days where you could simply text the job details to your candidate and move on to filling your next job.

The administrative burden of sending a temp or contractor out to work has changed enormously over recent years and in order to satisfy the various governing bodies, a written employment contract typically the best option for all employees – temp or perm, casual or labour-hire, PAYG or ABN.

It is not uncommon for some less scrupulous recruiters to send people out to work without advising them of their work rights at all – either verbally or in writing. The long list of conditions that need to be relayed can often land this task in the “too hard” basket.

What some may fail to realise, in their haste to fill the next job, is that sending a physical contract serves as a safety net for both the business and the consultant, keeping all parties safe against potential disputes and litigation.

Furthermore, from a candidate’s perspective, working for an agency that has a watertight, consistent process for always issuing employment contracts (or assignment notices) gives peace of mind that the employment agreement they’re entering into is squeaky clean and all above board since they have a physical copy they can refer back to and are aware of their rights.

This is essentially the minimum a candidate should expect from their recruiter and with the opportunity to include digital signing software, there is no excuse for allowing a candidate to commence a role without a signed contract in place.

Let’s face it: you wouldn’t work with a client without signed terms of business, so why would you expect a temp to work without a signed contract?

What should you do next?

We strongly advise all recruitment businesses to carefully audit their operations and identify whether they are meeting the minimum standards of compliance. All documentation relating to contractual arrangements should be reviewed as part of this process, ensuring all candidates are being notified of their employment conditions each and every time they undertake a new assignment. Sending these automatically and therefore reducing the administrative burden of doing so is now possible through Ratescalc’s new Assignment Confirmation feature.

Ratescalc seamlessly captures all pay and allowance items from the award/agreement and issues the information directly to the candidate as a bespoke and fully customisable employment contract or assignment notice letter. Ratescalc is also fully integrated with Secured Signing, meaning your candidate can sign the agreement on the go from their mobile device. And lastly, the signed contract is stored in Bullhorn against both the Job and the Candidate in the Files tab for added visibility.

About Col: Col Levander is an Industry veteran and contingent staffing industry expert with over 20 years’ experience in market and 6 years in technology solution design. After experiencing the constant changes and nuances contained within Modern Awards and manual spreadsheet’s inability to cater a fully compliant way of managing rates, Col set off to develop an application that could calculate a rate, send out a quote, issue employment letters and be fully compliant with Fair Work rules and able to flag any award changes. Ratescalc.com was launched in 2016. The application completely digitalises the quoting process and calculation of rates for any employment type in the Australian marketplace.

Want to find out more about how easy it can be for you to stay compliant? Check out Ratescalc in Bullhorn’s Marketplace now.

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