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Thread: Hiring an assistant/ apprentice - rules and regulations

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    New Member terryhoulding's Avatar
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    Hiring an assistant/ apprentice - rules and regulations

    Hi everyone.

    After much searching, I have found little to answer my question directly so have turned to the forums for any advice/ experience....

    So the situation...

    Recently my wife (the photographer) took on an assistant who is her friends sister. The premise being that she wanted to learn the trade whilst helping being an assistant.

    What our question boils down to is over salary, taxation, insurance etc...

    Because this education isnt a certification in anyway we know that the assistant does come under the regulations for an apprentice/ trainee when it comes to wages.
    Closest that she comes under is a casual labourer which is minimum wage plus the casual loading bonus. However, because she volunteered for this with the purpose of education, is there anything mandated about this being offset from the wages?

    Also for insurance purposes, will our business insurance (Public Indemnity and PLI) cover her as well?

    Im sure other questions could branch from this but would appreciate anybody with experience with this situation so we dont fall afoul of the law etc etc

    Thanks for reading!

  2. #2
    Moderately Super Debra Faulkner's Avatar
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    Has your searching included the ATO? Your accountant should be able to tell you about any offsets. Also any insurance company should be able to tell you about PI/PLI.
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    I havent checked ATO yet as I need to know whether the assistant will be classed as a casual labourer or are there other agreements that apply to this situation. Im sure its pretty common for people to assist while learn on the trade, but there seems to be little in the way of clear direction :S

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Hi Terry.
    Will she be get any monetary payment? If not, then I suppose you're trying to tease out the insurance question.
    Would your company/broker be able to help with that one? I have no real idea, but I would think that while on the premises,
    she would be covered. I don't know about off-site assignments, though.
    Am.
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    The intent is to give her monetary payment, but were trying to establish whether by doing so, she comes under the employment regulations of australia (weve only recently moved here ourselves so its all new to us)

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    In a broad sense, yes she would, but further than that I cannot help. I do think it would be a question
    for your accountant, ultimately, as indicated by Debra earlier. However, when this thread is seen by more
    people here you might be better advised.
    Am.

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    Ok Thanks Am

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    I recently assisted one of my family members to start up a small business.
    I don't know all of the intricate details, but from what I understand of your wife's situation, it's not too dissimilar to my sister's.

    if you(you're wife) want to receive any special dispensation(s) to assist in the employment of the employee(ie. training), you can get assistance from the govt to do this.
    From memory, you get some assistance for remuneration(ie. if the employee is operating under an apprenticeship) and to assist in the education of the apprentice too.

    The employee HAS to be enrolled in an approved apprenticeship course tho .. ie. no matter what you're wife knows about photography, if she doesn't have certification to train others her training is not recognised as an official course.

    Like I said, I had nothing to do with the 'guts' of all the details, nor even on how to go about finding it all, my sister did all that groundwork.
    It helped her immensely that her husband is the manager(2IC) of a very large TAFE institution

    As Deb wrote .. ATO is your best friend here as well a many government sites that relate to training.
    In fact, phoning the govt sites that relate to apprenticeships and training will be the best course of action to take. It may take a bit of time(ie. a few days and a bit of running around) but I'm sure to achieve maximum benefits it'll be worth the effort.

    One point to note: it may require that the employee is taken on in a full time role tho to be eligible for maximum benefits. (I'm sure on this, just something that may have popped up in conversations).
    Last edited by arthurking83; 17-08-2014 at 12:47pm.
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    I'm not saying asking here is bad, but I would be very hesitant of offer any sort of legal advice, or for that matter receive it via a forum. These questions should be posed to a legal entity, I'd start with your companies accountant, send a written request for details to the ATO and maybe small business government organisations. The queensland government have a great sight for that: http://www.business.qld.gov.au/busin...usiness-advice

    May also be worth approaching a professional body like AIPP for further details relating specifically to photography.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    I agree with jon.
    I'd be hesitant to accept any advice regarding such legal requirements from non authorized entities.

    I reedited my first reply to underline the point that my sister's husband gave here much information as to where to look.
    AFAIK, he didn't give her any advice as to what to do, just which government bodies were the relevant ones(as he deals with them all the time, being 2IC).

    All the info(as I recall) she got, were from specific government websites and more importantly calling them to find out the important info she required.

    There will be a mountain of paperwork to be filled out if your wife was to go down this path(I've seen it all) .. so be prepared for days(if not weeks) of drudgery.

    Another way she could also work the question out is to contact any relevant educational bodies(ie. approved course providers, TAFEs, Colleges, institutes and so on).

    I can tell you with 100% accuracy this is also a good way to deal with the issue as well(it's what my brother-in-law does) as many educational institutions like to deal directly with businesses.
    This sort of practice (eg. TAFEs dealing with businesses) is a large part of how they make money. At the least, they will have more relevant info for your wife to follow up on.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Please also be aware that as members here may not be qualified in a field related to Tax Law, Workers Compensation Law and Industrial Law, you cannot use the advise provided by anyone on this site as a defence if you are found to be doing the wrong thing. Our site rules include:


    [30] Requesting/Providing Financial, Medical or Legal Advice on Ausphotography:

    Australian Photography is a website with broad topic coverage. However, when it comes to medical, financial and legal advice, it's always recommended to seek advice from a qualified professional, rather than asking about it on Australian Photography. As such, Australian Photography takes no legal responsibility for posts seeking or providing Medical, Financial or Legal advice. Members use any advice provided via Ausphotography at their own risk. The site owner, moderators or members cannot be held liable for any Medical, Financial or Legal advice posted on the site.

    So please ensure any advice you take from members, is backed-up by advise from the correct government entity, your accountant, and/or lawyer.
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    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    You may find some stuff here .... http://www.fairwork.gov.au/About-us/...ir-work-system
    The drop down things at the top of the page cover a fair bit.
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    Update

    Hi all

    Thanks again to those who have given their advice.

    Firstly, I concur with what you all said about using this advice, I would/ have obviously checked that whatever advice was given was backed up officially per se.

    So here are the answers that I have found.

    With regards to hiring a photography assistant. From what I can tell, this job role is not covered by an Award or an Agreement, i.e. Govt direction as to how workers should be paid etc. Therefore, the assistant comes under Miscellaneous Award which basically means that National minimum wage applies.

    In our case and I guess the majority of others, because our hours are irregular, the assistant is defined as a casual worker. This basically means that they receive minimal entitlements with regards to unpaid leave etc, but this is compensated by applying a 25% casual loading to the national minimum wage (dont forget to check what the percentage is for juniors)

    Basically if youre hiring a junior assistant, youre looking at $11 ph which will increase to $13 after a 3mth period. As time goes on, or the hours become more regular, the assistants circumstances may change to part-time and you would have to check the definitions and rules for that.

    To reiterate an earlier point, unless youve had assistants before and know this anyway, the trainee cant be classified for pay purposes as a trainee or an apprentice unless you a) have a course program lined out for them and b) that course is recognised by the regulating authority for the state. So even if someone comes to you seeking an education because they want to be a photographer, if theyre carrying out tasks for you whilst your working no matter how minor, they will still be classed as workers.

    Because you are now an employer of said assistant, you are obligated to have them covered by accident and injury insurance. Like I plan to do tomorrow, I would also check your PI and PLI insurance to see whether youre covered when the fault may be with the assistant.

    Im sure people still have more to add to this and I will add updates as things become clearer. I think the main thing Ive got from this is that taking on an assistant who 'just wants to learn' is actually more of a commitment that it would initially seem and you will have to be on your toes when it comes to the mundane stuff.

    Hope this helps anyone who is searching for these kind of answers!

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    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    Seems like you're on the right track Terry.
    Hope you can get involved elsewhere here at AP.

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    This whole thread is folly. The moment Terry started giving specific financial advice and conditions of employment I would have thought, if nothing else, it was a breach of forum rules.
    I say that with sincerity as a number of important facts have been overlooked and these include that we have no knowledge of the legal structure of the business that Terry is only third part to. We no nothing of the qualifications of the people involved (particularly in regard to training) and yet we proffer advice which can easily be construed as legal if the business was to fail.
    The best advice given in this thread is to seek legitimate legal or accounting advice from appropriate professionals. Advice can also be sought from Government Departments but in each case that department will insist you get independent counsel.
    I really thought this thread would have been deleted to protect the thread starter and other members of the forum from themselves and possible litigation.
    On a lighter note. Asking for legal direction is fine and worthy, just don't offer that advice on a photography website.
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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    AFAICS the thread is as reasonable as could be expected. Firstly, there is no site rules breach that I can find,
    and secondly, the advice is sound insofar that it is essentially telling the OP to get proper advice and not from here.

    So that leaves just some personal experiences and anecdotes from the other users.
    Am.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ameerat42 View Post
    AFAICS the thread is as reasonable as could be expected. Firstly, there is no site rules breach that I can find,
    and secondly, the advice is sound insofar that it is essentially telling the OP to get proper advice and not from here.
    Agree. The rule that Rick quoted was in fact not so much a rule, but certainly a disclaimer which indemnifies the site owners et al against any consequences of any advice of this sort which is taken. It also advised to get professional advice in this area.

    So no harm, no foul.
    Cheers

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redgum View Post
    This whole thread is folly. The moment Terry started giving specific financial advice and conditions of employment I would have thought, if nothing else, it was a breach of forum rules.
    I say that with sincerity as a number of important facts have been overlooked and these include that we have no knowledge of the legal structure of the business that Terry is only third part to. We no nothing of the qualifications of the people involved (particularly in regard to training) and yet we proffer advice which can easily be construed as legal if the business was to fail.
    The best advice given in this thread is to seek legitimate legal or accounting advice from appropriate professionals. Advice can also be sought from Government Departments but in each case that department will insist you get independent counsel.
    I really thought this thread would have been deleted to protect the thread starter and other members of the forum from themselves and possible litigation.
    On a lighter note. Asking for legal direction is fine and worthy, just don't offer that advice on a photography website.
    Why delete? It is a genuine discussion that might just allow others to consider the implications of employing someone. incl. superannuation, pay rates, workers comp etc. Surely an open discussion on a forum (or elsewhere) is a good thing? After all, not talking about it, is probably going to result in a worse outcome.

    This discussion does not breach the site rules, includes advice to seek help from the government, accountants, ATO, etc. There is nothing at all wrong with open and frank discussion on the subject. It is not like we are discussing how to avoid tax, or rip off an insurance company. In fact it is the opposite, ensuring things are done correctly.
    Last edited by ricktas; 20-08-2014 at 6:37pm.

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    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redgum View Post
    This whole thread is folly. The moment Terry started giving specific financial advice and conditions of employment I would have thought, if nothing else, it was a breach of forum rules.
    Quote Originally Posted by terryhoulding View Post
    So here are the answers that I have found. ...
    Found = advice?
    Maybe what he's found is wrong?
    No one has endorsed what he's found.

    ("Seems like you're on the right track" is no endorsement.)

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    If you believe the details are wrong or are losing sleep over un-endorsed posts, by all means, check the relevant details and provide your certified endorsement. This thread was initially to seek advice and then because it was such an unclear area, share what I had found to the wider community!

    Advice is what it is, advice, not direction. There may be faults with it, which is why the message clearly emphasised throughout the thread is to seek confirmation for confirmation on the precise legalese. What I was seeking, and stated I have found is what the likely scenario is for my situation, and in no way is labelled as gospel. That said, after checking through the government pages on the relevant details, I believe these are applicable to the scenario.

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