Harsh penalties for poor record keeping

16 June, 2017

The Fair Work Act requires employers to maintain extensive employee records but there is nothing in the legislation requiring these records to be kept in hardcopy format only.

The Act requires the following records are maintained in a legible form, are readily accessible to an inspector and are kept in English for a minimum of seven years, including:

•   basic employment details

•   pay records

•   hours worked

•   leave entitlements

•   superannuation contributions

•   individual flexibility arrangement records

•   guarantee of annual earnings

•   termination of employment

•   transfer of business.

 

But in relation to long-service leave, it is important records are kept for the duration of employment and for seven years after that.

Awards and agreements may also contain obligations to keep records, such as those relating to time and wages.

Tips for going paperless

  • If transferring from hardcopy to electronic copy, ensure the entire record is transferred across correctly and remains readable
  • Keep back-ups to ensure records are not lost
  • Ensure records cannot be tampered with
  • Consider privacy laws, allowing access for key staff only
  • Some employees may not have access to electronic methods for payslips (such as email), so you may need to continue to provide hard-copies to some employees.

The Fair Work Ombudsman can issue on-the-spot infringements for breaches of record keeping and payslip obligations under the Fair Work Act.

The current maximum amounts per contravention are $540 for individuals and $2700 for companies.

The Ombudsman may refer the matter to a court where the maximum fines are $10,800 for individuals and $54,000 for the company.

► Need help understanding your employer obligations? Register for CCI’s course – Employment Law Fundamentals - Part 1: The Basics today.