What Dental Practices Must Do To Ensure They Comply With Employment Law

For dentists or owners of dental practices we are certain that you have employees who work there and also are sure that, without them, it would otherwise be almost impossible for your dental practice to function properly. No matter how great your dentistry skills and experience are, being able to use them within your dental practice requires others to support you such as dental nurses, receptionists, and administrative staff.

What all of this means at the most obvious level is that you are an employer and therefore subject to complying with the employment laws which exist within both your state and the country as a whole. This is where many dental practice employers get themselves in trouble due to them either not being aware of specific employment laws or, more concerningly, choosing to ignore them.

We sincerely hope you do not fall into the latter category of being an employer who thinks employment laws are for others to follow. If not, good, and it then could be that you have problems simply because there are employment laws that exist that you are unaware of, or are unsure how to apply and comply with them. Here are some ways you can change that scenario.

Know What Employment Laws Apply To Your Dental Practice

Before you panic, we are not suggesting you exit the dental profession and become a lawyer. Instead, all we ask is that you at least take some time to familiarise yourself with the employment laws which apply to your dental practice. Given the number of states in Australia, we obviously cannot go through all of them here, but you should at least make yourself aware of what they are in your state.

As for federal employment laws which apply across Australia three main acts are relevant. These are:

Fair Work Act (2009)

Designed to clarify what the relationship between an employer and their employees should be. This references specifics such as employee rights, minimum entitlements, minimal wage, and National Employment Standards (NES). This legislation also protects against discrimination and unfair dismissal.

Work Health And Safety Act (2011)

As the title of this legislation suggests, this act provides a framework that is applied in numerous states for the protection of workers’ health and safety whilst carrying out their employment duties. In addition, the protection extends to those who enter that place of employment such as suppliers, patients, and miscellaneous visitors.

Disability Discrimination Act (1992)

Another self-explanatory title that, as one might expect, seeks to ensure those with disabilities are not unfairly treated or discriminated against by their employers. The protection extends to employees with disabled family members or friends. Disability can be defined as physical, sensory, mental, or psychological.

Employee Rights You Must Uphold To Comply With Employment Law

As an employer, you and your dental practice in its capacity as the employer have numerous responsibilities and obligations that, if fulfilled, will ensure that you are fully compliant with current employment laws. The list below outlines some of these responsibilities and obligations, but be aware it is not complete by any measure and not necessarily in order of importance.

  • Protect all employees against discrimination, bullying, and sexual harassment
  • Ensure that you provide a working environment that is safe
  • Inform employees of their responsibilities and their rights
  • Provide employees with the appropriate resources, training, and mentoring to ensure they work safely
  • Advise and educate employees on potential safety risks and hazards within their work environment
  • Give employees the pay and entitlements which they are rightfully due
  • Meet requirements related to keeping records
  • Ensure first aid requirements are met
  • Provide any necessary protective equipment and clothing employees require to fulfil their duties
  • Report any workplace incidents or injuries to Safe Work Australia

In Conclusion

Our final advice in helping you to comply with employment law is, if you have doubts, queries, or even confusion, then ensure that you seek advice from an employment lawyer whose expertise in this area of the law could prevent any number of legal issues arising for your dental practice.