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Hiring your first employee and what this means for your business?

Once you have got past how to start a business having fulfilled all registration requirements with the government. Having a fully developed business plan and most probably enjoying life as an entrepreneur, you can start to think about the best ways to grow your business. Whether you work from home or from other premises, one way to get more done in your business is to hire some extra hands to help.

Hiring your first employee is a big step – and an exciting one. There’s more to hiring an employee than finding the right person for the job, including understanding payroll, legal requirements and tax. Here are some tips to help you get started.

Work out what kind of skills you need to bring in

If you need help with just one specific task, such as bookkeeping or an accountant to help you understand tax rates, you might just need to pay for their advice as a contractor or as a service provider. If you need someone to help with the day-to-day running of your business and to look after clients or customers, you may need an employee.

Take a look at exactly what you need help within your business. Write a list of the tasks you would like someone to do and the kind of skills and experience they might need to do this well. You may use the services of a reputable business advisor to help you create a job advertisement and job description.

Factor in the costs of employing someone

Your prospective employee’s salary is a major consideration, but you may also need to allow for:

  • Whether you need someone on a full-time, part-time, casual or other basis and the entitlements for each type of employment
  • Superannuation, payroll tax and other legal requirements
  • Recruitment costs such as advertising the role or using a recruitment firm
  • Training courses or materials
  • Added insurance
  • Uniforms, technology (such as a mobile phone or laptop) or other equipment

You should also consider the type of costs that aren’t related to money – such as the cost of your time during the recruitment, training and ongoing management of the new role.

These costs can all add up, but it’s also important to weigh this against the benefits of having extra help. With an employee on board, you might have more capacity to follow up leads, expand your range of products or services or find even better, more efficient ways to serve your customers.

Understand industrial relations

In the Kingdom of eSwatini we have the Industrial Relations Act (No. 1 of 2000). This act repeals and replaces the Industrial Relations Act (No. 1 of 1996), which eliminates certain sections making way for new procedures, the key being those that are given the right to organize, and succinctly laying out a principle by which a strike or strikes can be deemed lawful.

A modification to the above-mentioned act is the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act, 2014 (Act No. 11 of 2014). The amendment makes a number of changes to the principal Act, in particular by inserting a new section concerning the registration of employer and worker federations, as well as amending provisions concerning the resolution of protest action and civil and criminal liability of trade unions.

Know your employer obligations

Hiring someone in your business means you become an employer, and this comes with a new set of responsibilities beyond working for yourself. As an employer, you’ll need to know about:

  • Industrial Relations Act of 2000,
  • Employment Act 1980,
  • Wages Act 1964,
  • Workmen’s Compensation Act 1983,
  • Occupational Health and Safety 2011,
  • Procurement Act 2011—as regards the awarding of Government and Public Enterprises this has provisions for adherence to labour laws

An employer owes their employee the following duties, which again can be implied by the law or may be found in the employment contract. It is the employer’s duty to pay the employee the agreed amount if the employee arrives for work and can work, observe health and safety regulations, give employees correct information about rights under their contract, and also give employees a reasonable opportunity to have their complaints looked at.

The employer and employee also owe each other a duty of “Mutual Trust & Confidence”, basically they must show respect for each other. There’s a lot to know when you want to bring your first employee on board – and we’re here to help.

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