Employers must keep a number of written records of their employees for 7 years. This includes records about time and wages. They must be legible and in English, and be readily accessible to an inspector. It's best practice that these records are written in plain and simple English.
What must appear in employee records?
Who & when
- The name of the employer and the name of the employee.
- From 1 January 2010 - the Australian Business Number (ABN) (if any) of the employer.
- Date the employee started employment.
Type of employment, hours & rates of pay
- If the employee is full-time, part-time.
- If the employee is permanent, temporary or casual.
- The employee's pay rate, including gross and net amounts paid and any deductions from the gross amount.
- Any loadings, monetary allowances, bonuses, incentive-based payments, penalty rates or other entitlements paid that can be singled out.
- If a penalty rate or loading must be paid for overtime hours actually worked, the number of hours of overtime worked, or when the employee started and finished working overtime.
- Hours worked if the employee works casual or irregular part-time hours and is guaranteed a pay rate set by reference to a period of time worked.
- A copy of the written agreement if you and your employee have agreed to average the employee's work hours.
- If you and your employee have agreed to an individual flexibility arrangement, a copy of that agreement, and, if the agreement is terminated, a copy of the termination.
Leave information for all types of leave, including:
- leave taken
- leave balance
- a copy of any agreement to cash out accrued leave, the rate of payment for the leave and when the payment was made.
Employees paid superannuation (excluding payments to a defined benefit fund):
- amount paid
- pay period
- date(s) paid
- name of super fund
- reason you paid super into the fund (e.g. a record of the employee's super fund choice and the date that choice was made).
Termination of employment
Employee or employer terminates their employment:
- name of the person who terminated the employment
- how the termination took place - by consent, by notice, summarily or in some other way (need to include details).
Guarantee of annual earnings
If the employee has been provided with a written guarantee of annual earnings for an amount over $113,800 p.a. (during the year ended 30 June 2011 – indexed annually):
- a copy of the written agreement.
Fair Work Ombudsman's record-keeping role
The Fair Work Ombudsman uses the time and wages records to find out what an employee is entitled to and whether they're getting those entitlements.
If the records are incorrect or not kept, Fair Work Inspectors may give the employer an infringement notice (where the employer has to pay a fine), rather than take them to court.
However, if an employer's failure to meet the requirements is serious, wilful or repetitive, Fair Work Inspectors may take the employer to court.
Employee records are private and confidential. Generally, no-one can access them other than the employee, employer and relevant payroll staff.
However, Fair Work Inspectors and union officials may be able to access employees’ records (including personal information) to determine if there has been a contravention of Commonwealth workplace laws. However a union official cannot access records of employees who are not members of that union unless the employee consents in writing or FWA makes an order that the union official can have that access.