With employment regulation shaping up as a defining issue in the upcoming federal election campaign, it’s worth looking at exactly what is required of employers in the current environment.
The Workplace Ombudsman (WO) requires employers who are bound by WorkChoices, typically incorporated businesses, to keep precise time and wages records and payslips for each employee. The record keeping and payslip requirements help ensure that employers are not breaching workplace laws.
RANDOM AUDITS BY THE WORKPLACE OMBUDSMAN
Since the introduction of WorkChoices the WO has contacted 50,000 employers and recovered over $10m for non-compliance of record keeping requirements and workplace laws. The WO has the power to issue infringement notices to employers for up to $33,000 per breach for non-compliance of WorkChoices.
EMPLOYER’S RECORD-KEEPING OBLIGATIONS
In order to minimise the risk of prosecution and fines, it is imperative that employers fully comply with record-keeping requirements. Below is an outline of some of the records that employees will be required to keep under WorkChoices:
1. General employment record
The general employment record must maintain the following details:
• the name of the employer and employee
• the date of birth of the employee
• the name of each instrument under which the employee derives entitlement of employment and the classification
• whether the employee’s employment is full-time or part-time
• if the employee is full-time or part-time – a specification of the number of hours to be worked by the employee per week
• whether the employee’s employment is permanent, temporary or casual
• the date on which the employee’s employment began
2. Hours worked record
The hours worked record must maintain the following details if an employee is entitled to a penalty rate or loaded rate:
• the number of hours worked by the employee each day
• if the employer and employee agree to an averaging of hours (only permissible) under an AWA or other Workplace Agreement, the employer must keep a copy of the agreement
3. Pay records
The pay record must maintain the following details:
• the basis on which the employee’s rate of pay is determined
• the gross rate of pay expressed as an hourly rate
• details of any incentive based payment, bonus, loading, monetary allowance or penalty rate
• the period to which the payment relates
• the total remuneration received by the employee during the period, including the gross and net amounts
• the dates on which the employee was paid
• the deductions made from that remuneration and the name of the fund or account into which the deductions were paid
4. Superannuation contributions record including employee’s superfund election
The superannuation record must maintain the following details:
• the amount of the contribution made
• the period over which the contributions were made
• the dates on which the contributions were made
• the name of any fund to which the contributions were made
• the basis on which the employer became liable to make the contributions
5. Annual leave record
The annual leave record must maintain the following details:
• the rate of the employee’s accrual of annual leave
• the date on which the employee was credited with annual leave
• the balance of the employee’s entitlement to that annual leave from time to time
• the amount of annual leave taken by the employee
• the amount paid to the employee while on annual leave
If you are still uncertain of your responsibilities there are a number of government resources that can help. Perhaps the best place to start is the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations. If you are audited, remember the WO is not necessarily out to get you. However, it can pay to seek legal advice.
Kevin Saw is a Workplace Lawyer for Saw Hunter Moore Lawyers. Email: [email protected] or Tel: 1300 785 282.
The information contained in this article is not exhaustive and should not be relied on in place of legal advice.