General practice tool kit

Your practice team

Your obligations as an employer

Last revised: 24 Oct 2019

Obligations to staff and contractors

General practice teams can be made up of employed staff and contractors, but regardless of your team’s composition, you have a range of obligations as a business owner and employer.

The National Employment Standards (NES) set out 10 minimum entitlements for employees in Australia that you must comply with as an employer.

Casual employees

Casual employees are not covered by all 10 entitlements.
See the FairWork website for further information about your obligations towards casual employees.

Awards

The following awards apply to staff working in general practices:

Award

Applies to

Medical Practitioners Award 2010 GPs employed by your practice.
Does not apply to doctors you have engaged as independent contractors.
Nurses Award 2010 All enrolled and registered nurses, nursing assistants and midwives working in primary health care and general practice.
Health Professionals and Support Services Award 2010 Employees working in private industry in the health sector (eg medical receptionists).
National Terms and Conditions for Employment of Registrars (NTCER) All GP registrars.


 

Your employees will generally be covered by an award that specifies the minimum conditions and entitlements of employment, including a minimum rate of pay, superannuation, and leave entitlements. To attract and retain quality staff and remain competitive in your local market, you may decide to offer more than the minimums. For example, you could pay a higher rate and/or pay more superannuation.

Key resources

Fair Work: Pay
Fair Work: Payslips

 Tip

Because payroll management is complex and you must meet several employer obligations related to pay and payslips, consider outsourcing this to a payroll company or service.

Salary or wages

You will need to pay each employee either:

  • a wage (based on hours worked), or
  • a salary (annualised payment for services, paid progressively throughout the year, usually monthly).

Pay slips

You must give each employee a pay slip for each pay, clearly showing:

  • their gross pay
  • deductions, including tax and superannuation
  • their nett pay
  • entitlements, such as accrued leave.

There are several payroll systems available that will calculate all of the above and generate pay slips. Using a payroll system also helps to ensure that calculation of payments and entitlements are correct.

Superannuation

As an employer, you are required to meet the requirement of the super guarantee, which means paying a minimum percentage of each employee’s ordinary time earnings as superannuation.

You must pay superannuation to all of your full-time, part-time and casual employees, including those who are temporary residents.

Employees covered by awards must be given their choice of superannuation fund.

For further information, seek professional advice and visit the Australian Taxation Office website.

Tax

As an employer, you have obligations relating to your employees’ withholding tax.

Ramifications of late or incorrect payments

Taxation can be a complex issue and it can significantly affect your practice’s cash flow, unless you manage it properly and make payments as soon as they are due. For example, if you don’t pay your employees’ income tax or superannuation each month, when you do come to pay them, you might find that you have insufficient funds.

Tax legislation and regulations frequently change and as there are legal and financial implications for errors and omissions, you should obtain financial advice from a person or organisation with solid experience in providing services to general practices.

See the Australian Taxation Office website for further information.

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