'I haven’t been paid for my overtime’: the importance of employment records

Your practice nurse recently ceased employment. A few days later, you receive a letter from the nurses’ union alleging that the nurse has not been paid all of the overtime she is due and demanding access to your time and wages records. The union also claims that your practice has breached its obligations under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), as it has not provided the nurse with pay slips. The maximum penalty for breaching this law is $6,300.

Employment records are an essential part of practice management and should not be neglected. In our experience, scenarios such as the one above are common, so it’s important as a practice owner or practice manager, to understand the legal requirements in terms of record keeping, to protect yourself and your practice from investigation and possible breaches.

Record keeping requirements

We set out below a summary of the key record keeping requirements under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and Fair Work Regulations 2009 (Cth). While this is a summary, there are other specific record keeping requirements in the legislation that you should make yourself aware of*.

Employment records

An employer must make an employee record available for inspection and provide a copy to the employee or former employee upon request. An employer is required to keep certain employment records containing the following information for a period of seven years.

  • Employer's name and ABN
  • Employee's name
  • Whether the employment is full-time or part-time or permanent, temporary or casual
  • Date on which the employee's employment began
  • Rate of remuneration paid to the employee, gross and net amounts, and any deductions from the gross amount paid to the employee
  • Overtime worked by the employee
  • Leave accrued and leave taken by the employee
  • Superannuation contributions made on behalf of the employee

Pay slips

Within one working day of paying the employee, an employer must give an employee a pay slip (electronic or hard copy), which must specify:

  • Employer's name and ABN
  • Employee's name
  • Period to which the pay slip relates
  • Date on which the payment to which the pay slip relates was made
  • Gross payment amount
  • Net payment amount
  • Any amount paid to the employee that is a bonus, loading, allowance, penalty rate, incentive-based payment or other separately identifiable entitlement
  • Relevant details of any deductions made.

Pay slips - hourly rates of pay

In addition, if the employee is paid at an hourly rate of pay, the pay slip must also include:

  • Rate of pay for the employee's ordinary hours
  • Number of hours in that period for which the employee was employed at that rate
  • Amount of the payment made at that rate.

If the employee is paid at an annual rate of pay, the pay slip must also include the rate as at the latest date to which the payment relates.

Pay slips - superannuation

If the employer is required to make superannuation contributions for the benefit of the employee, the pay slip must also include the amount of each contribution that the employer made during the period to which the pay slip relates, and the name of the fund to which the contribution was made.

The pay slip must also include the basis on which the employer became liable to make the contribution and a record of the employee’s election to have the employer make contributions to the fund and the date of this decision.

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More information

If you would like further information about employment records, visit Avant's website or for immediate advice call Avant's Medico-legal Advisory Service on 1800 128 268, 24-7 in emergencies.

*Fair Work Act 2009 Sections 535-536; Fair Work Regulations 2009: Pt 3-6 Div 3 Subdiv 1 prescribe requirements for employee records

By: Sonya Black, Special Counsel – Employment Law, QLD, Avant Law

This article was originally published on avant.org.au on Aug 11, 2017