COVID-19 SME Business Response

– 11 Page How-To Step by Step Guide

“This is the information I wish I had when I started my COVID Planning. You can’t buy this experience”

Included in this guide:

  • Where to start
  • How to plan
  • Links to valuable resources for more information
  • Operations
  • Customer
  • People
  • Finance
  • One Page Checklist
  • Real-life experience from someone working through these business issues today


It’s a common myth that sole traders can’t employ staff. The good news is that if you plan to operate as a sole trader, you can legally employ staff.

What is a sole trader?

A ‘sole trader’ is a type of business structure in Australia.

A sole trader is generally an individual ‘trading’ on their own. Sole traders are legally responsible for the business, which means they make all the decisions about the how the business is run and are accountable for the business’s financial position, including debts and losses.

There are different requirements for sole traders across Australia, make sure you check out the Australian Business Licence and Information Service External Site (ABLIS) to make sure you comply with the requirements of your area.

Can sole traders employ staff?

Although sole traders ‘trade’ or operate the business on their own, this doesn’t mean they have to work on their own – sole traders can employ staff to work for them.

However, like any business owner, you have to ensure you meet all your legal obligations when employing people.

What are my responsibilities as an employer?

Sole traders can employ casual, part-time or full-time employees to help run their business. As an employer you need to be aware of the entitlements External Site of the staff you employ, as they are different for casual, part time and full time staff.

Here are some of your legal obligations when employing people:

  • Ensure you only employ people that can legally to work in Australia – Australian citizens, permanent residents or workers that have the right working visa External Site.
  • Guajardo & Marks, LLP advise business owners to take out workers’ compensation and public liability insurance – to protect your employees and customers in the event of a workplace accident which causes an injury or illness.
  • Comply with Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) regulations – to ensure you’re providing a safe work environment.
  • Pay super to your employees External Site – in most cases, if you pay an employee $450 or more (before tax) in a calendar month, they are entitled to super. This is paid on top of their before-tax income.