Author: Lehanne Bleumink, Gold Seal HR Services Manager.
Employers are required to make and keep accurate and complete records for all employees. The records must be readily accessible to a Fair Work Inspector at any time. They can be kept manually or computerised; they must enable an Inspector to determine that Award or agreement provisions are being adhered to. As mentioned in last month’s newsletter article ‘Pay slip obligations’ these record keeping and pay slip obligations are designed to ensure that employees receive their correct wages and entitlements.
Employee records are private and confidential. Generally, no one is permitted to access them other than the employee, the employer and relevant payroll employees. If an employee or former employee requests copies of their employee records, the employer must make copies available. However, Fair Work Inspectors and organisation officials (such as a trade union) may access employee records to determine if there has been a contravention of workplace laws. The Fair Work Ombudsman does provide further information on the powers of Fair Work Inspectors and their right of entry: Fair Work Right of Entry Fact Sheet
What information must be kept in employee records?
The Fair Work Act 2009 and Fair Work Regulations 2009 prescribe the information that must be kept for each employee.
- General employment records must include all of the following:
- Employer’s name and ABN (if any)
- Employee’s name and date of birth
- Commencement date
- The basis of employment (full time, part time, casual or temporary)
Pay records must include all of the following:
- Employee’s rate of pay
- Gross and net amounts paid and any deductions
- Details of any overtime, penalty rates, loadings, allowances, or incentive-based payments
Hours of work records are to include the following:
- Record of hours worked by a casual or part time employee
- The number of overtime hours worked each day for a full or part time employee
- A copy of the written agreement if parties have agreed to the employee taking time off instead of being paid for overtime
Leave records must include the following:
- Leave taken, if any
- The leave accrual and balance of the employee’s leave entitlement
If an employer and employee have agreed to the employee taking a period of annual leave in advance, the employer is required to keep a signed copy of the agreement which states the amount of leave to be taken in advance and when. If they have agreed to cash out an accrued amount of leave, the employer must keep a copy of the agreement to cash out the amount of leave and the date the payment is to be made.
Superannuation contribution records must include all of the following:
- The amount and date each contribution was made or amount set aside on behalf of the employee
- The period over which the contribution was made
- The name of the fund and record of any election made by the employee to have their superannuation paid into a particular fund
If an employer and employee agree in writing to an individual flexibility arrangement, a record must include both:
- A copy of the agreement
- A copy of any agreement terminating the flexibility arrangement
Where an employee has been terminated, the records must include:
- Whether the termination was by consent, by notice, summarily or in some other manner
- If notice was provided, if so, how much
- The name of the person who terminated the employment
Fair Work Inspectors may issue an employer with an infringement notice for failing to meet their record-keeping and pay slip obligations under the Fair Work Act 2009. If an employer’s failure to meet their record-keeping obligations is serious, wilful or repetitive, Fair Work Inspectors may recommend the matter be taken to court.
The Fair Work Act 2009 prohibits a person from making or keeping false or misleading records, or giving pay slips which they know are false or misleading. In some cases, knowingly giving or producing false or misleading information or documents to officials may also be a criminal offence.
For assistance on any of your HR/IR requirements – call Gold Seal on 03 9510 5100 or email HRServices@goldseal.com.au