Chapter 1

Know your employer responsibilities

You have a duty of care to your employees. Get familiar with your employer responsibilities before you start the hiring.

An employer with a clipboard surrounded by cakes and sweets

Act in good faith and treat employees fairly

Allow employees to raise concerns and respond to them immediately. If you have an issue with an employee, discuss it with them as soon as possible and clarify any uncertainties.

Pay employees on time

Perhaps the biggest of your employment responsibilities is on payday. Pay employees the right amount, on the day and frequency stated in the agreement. Use the method of payment you agreed on.

Deduct the correct amounts

Deduct the correct amounts for income tax and retirement funds. Be sure to deduct the right amount for each pay period based on your employee’s earnings.

Online payroll software can automatically do these calculations for you.

Get leave and public holidays right

Get familiar with the main types of leave. These might include:

  • Annual leave
  • Sick leave
  • Bereavement leave
  • Parental leave
  • Jury duty
  • Public holidays

You need to understand the number of days employees are entitled to. Also learn what pay rate is required by law if, for instance, an employee works on a public holiday. It may be different from their normal pay.

Health and safety responsibilities of employers

You are legally required to keep employees healthy and safe at work.

Employer responsibilities include providing:

  • a suitable work environment
  • safe systems of work
  • safe equipment and training for handling risks
  • monitoring of your employees’ health and safety at work

A health and safety specialist can help create a workplace health and safety plan for your business.

Protect the privacy of your employees

You may need to ask for each employee’s permission to keep sensitive data. Keep that information safe and secure and avoid passing it onto unauthorised people. You must give them a copy of the information you hold about them if they ask.


Xero does not provide accounting, tax, business or legal advice. This guide has been provided for information purposes only. You should consult your own professional advisors for advice directly relating to your business or before taking action in relation to any of the content provided.

How to hire employees

Hiring help can improve your business, and your lifestyle. But it’s a big process. Here are the main things to keep in mind.

  1. Know your employer responsibilities

    You have a duty of care to your employees. Get familiar with your employer responsibilities before you start the hiring.

  2. Register as an employer

    You’ve considered the position you want to fill and your own responsibilities. It’s time to register as an employer.

  3. Write a job description

    You want the perfect employee. They want the perfect employer. Find out how to write a job description that stands out.

  4. The recruitment process

    Now the applicants are lining up. So how do you sort through them all and select the best fit for your business?

  5. Employee onboarding

    Employee onboarding is more than orientation. It’s setting expectations, building relationships, and providing support.

  6. Run payroll for your employees

    Paying your employees right is essential. It’s also a legal requirement. Let’s take a look at the payroll process.

  7. Manage employee evaluations

    Your employees need support too. They need to know if they’re on the right track. Employee evaluations help with that.

  8. Tools and guides for your business

    Now that you’re an employer, you want to strengthen your business. Xero’s got resources and solutions to help.

Download the guide to hiring employees

Learn how to hire employees and how to handle the admin that goes with it. Fill out the form to receive this guide as a PDF.

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