Employment Records

Employment Records

Keeping time and wage records

The Industrial Relations Act 1999 requires employers to keep time and wages records and give written statements of wages paid (e.g. pay slips/envelopes) to all employees.

The Act sets out the minimum details that must be included in the records and pay slips/envelopes. Some industrial instrument Glossary term may also require that particular information is to be kept in the time and wage records or included on an employee's pay slip. An employer must keep records or give payslips/envelopes as required by both the Act and by the industrial instrument.

Keeping accurate and detailed records protects both the employee and the employer when there are complaints or disputes.

It is the employer's responsibility to keep these records?

The Industrial Relations Act 1999 doesn't say employees must fill in a time sheet, but employers should implement a process to gather accurate information they are required to keep. If the information gathering process at a work place includes instructions to employees about record keeping, an employer must ensure the instructions are actioned.

Keeping employment records

The Act requires that all time and wages records must be kept:
- for 6 years after the date to which the record refers (e.g. all records relating to a 20 year period of employment that terminated in June 2001 must be kept until June 2007);
- in the English language, and
- at a workplace of the employer in Queensland.

The type of records employers must keep about employees

The Act requires that the following records must be kept for each employee whose employment is covered by an award or agreement.

General records

- full name of the employer (records as from 1 May 2002)
- full name and address of the employee
- the date of birth of the employee
- the date on which the employee commenced employment and, if appropriate, the date of termination.

Remuneration and hours worked

For each pay period:
- the designation of the employee and the name of the award or agreement under which the employee works
- the number of hours worked by the employee on each day and in each week including the times of starting and stopping work and details of any meal breaks or other work breaks
- the rate at which the employee is being paid (details of weekly, daily, hourly or piecework rates of payment to the employee and details of piecework performed)
- the gross and net amounts of wages paid to the employee
- details of any deductions
- other particulars necessary to show compliance with the hours of work, wage rates and general employment conditions (e.g. leave entitlements) under the industrial instrument.

Superannuation contributions

- contributions made by the employer to a superannuation fund.

Leave records

- if the employee is a casual entitled to long service leave, the total ordinary hours worked since their entitlement started, calculated to 30 June each year.
- details of sick leave credited and such leave payments taken by each employee.

Particulars of employee's starting and finishing times each day need not be recorded if the award or agreement does not limit the employee's daily or weekly working hours (unless specifically required by the award or agreement).
Records for employees not covered by an award or agreement

Time and wages records are required to be kept, at a workplace of the employer in Queensland, for employees not covered by an award or agreement. This record should contain the following details:
- the employer's full name (as from 1 May 2002)
- the employee's full name and address (as from 1 April 2003)
- the employee's date of birth (as from 1 April 2003)
- for each pay period:
          - the employee's designation
          - the number or hours worked by the employee during each day and week (as from 1 April 2003)
          - the employee's wage rate
          - the gross and net wages paid to the employee
          - details of any deductions made from the wages
- if the employee is a casual entitled to long service leave, the total ordinary hours worked since their entitlement started, calculated to 30 June each year.

Records of the employee's date of birth and number of hours worked are not required to be kept for employees excluded from the operation of the Queensland minimum wage general ruling (e.g. employees paid on piecework rates or paid wholly by commission).

Do employees have to make their own entries?

There is no provision in the Act requiring that employees make their own entries of starting and ceasing times in a time and wages record. Employers should make their own decision as to whether the accuracy of records is increased by employees making their own entries.

The onus to keep records is placed on the employer. It is an employer's responsibility to implement a process that will gather the required information. If an employee fails to make entries on a daily basis this may not absolve the employer from their responsibility to keep the prescribed records.

Documenting daily hours of work

Starting and ceasing times and details of any work breaks must be included in the time and wage records for employees covered by an industrial instrument. This is necessary so that accurate calculations of overtime can be made. The number of hours worked per day and starting and ceasing times will generally influence whether overtime payments are applicable.

Some industrial instruments do not limit an employee's daily or weekly working hours. Under these circumstances recording of starting and ceasing times each day may not be necessary, unless the instrument requires it. However, the number of hours worked each day and week should still be recorded.

Computerised records

Computerised records are quite acceptable as long as the information available from them complies with the Act. Many computerised record systems are fine for recording weekly hours of work and payments but do not include the capacity for daily hours or starting and ceasing times - this is not acceptable.

The Act includes a 'computer record' within the definition of 'record' provided that it is possible to produce a printout or disk of the required time and wages records separate from other records and in a way that is convenient for inspection. Care should be taken that abbreviations and computer codes used on the records or transcribed to pay slips are explained to employees or are able to be easily understood.

Who is allowed to examine the time and wages records?

The Act provides for employees to have access to the time and wages records of their own employment. Employees are to be permitted to inspect time and wages records pertaining to their own employment for the 12 months prior to the inspection. At the employer's discretion, the particulars may be supplied to the employees in writing. Unless the employer otherwise consents, the inspection is limited to once every 12 months and may only be carried out during the employer's business hours and outside the employee's working time.

The Act also requires that employers make time and wages records available to inspectors employed by the Department of Justice and Attorney-General and to authorised industrial officers (e.g. union officials authorised by the Industrial Registrar to exercise certain powers). Both inspectors and industrial officers may inspect and copy time and wages records. See also compliance on this website.

Issuing payslips

The employer must give a written statement to the employee when paying wages. The statement must show how the payment is calculated and may be given on a pay slip/envelope or other written pay advice.

Information to be supplied on the employee's payslip

Payslips must contain the following information:
- the employer's full name
- the date of payment-  the period covered by the payment
- the number of hours covered by the payment at ordinary rates of pay and at overtime rates of pay
- the ordinary hourly rate and the amount paid at that rate
the overtime hourly rate and the amount paid at that rate
- the gross wages paid
- the net wages paid
- details of any deduction made from the wages
- the amount of contribution paid to a superannuation fund.