Is this business?

SubjectBusiness YearSenior secondary Curriculum Time50

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In this activity, students learn what it means to be in business.

Australian Curriculum or Syllabus

This activity provides an overview of what it means to be in business with a focus on the difference between a business and a hobby and an employee and a contractor.

See also:

Teacher resources

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Are you in business?


Avoid the myths


ABN entitlement

Student learning resources

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Employee or contractor?

Suggested activity sequence

This sequence is intended as a framework to be modified and adapted by teachers to suit the needs of a class group.

Part A: Business or hobby?

  1. Explain to students that they will be exploring the steps involved in establishing a business. The first question to answer is ‘Are you in business?’
  2. Play: Are you in business?. This video explains the difference between a hobby and a business.
  3. Discuss the following questions and record responses on the board.
    • What are the factors that determine people are running a business?
    • What are some of the obligations of running a business?

Part B: Employee or contractor?

  1. Explain to students that another important step before you begin a business is making sure you are a contractor and not an employee. Explain the meaning of sham contracting.

    A sham contracting arrangement is when an employer attempts to disguise an employment relationship as a contracting arrangement. This may be done to avoid certain taxes and responsibility for employee entitlements such as minimum wages, superannuation, workers' compensation and leave.

  2. More information: Avoid the myths. This page explains the myths associated with contractors.
  3. Invite students to complete the See-think-wonder visible thinking routine.
  4. Explain that some bosses try to avoid paying tax by treating you as a contractor and may ask you to apply for an ABN. It's against the law for a business to incorrectly treat their employees as contractors.
  5. Play: ABN entitlement. This video is about ABNs entitlement.
  6. Students complete the worksheet.
  7. Use a discussion strategy for students to discuss the following:

    What are the potential consequences of sham contracting for businesses, individuals and society in general?

  8. When student discussions have ended, give students 5 minutes to write their response to the previous question.