04 March 2024

Records you do not want to break...

Trouble keeping on top of your paperwork? Or is record-keeping not really your thing?

Take note: good record keeping is now more important than ever since the Worker Protection (Migrants and Other Employees) Act 2023 (“Act”) came into force on 6 January 2024.  The Act introduces a new infringement offence under the Employment Relations Act 2000 for employers who fail to produce employment records when asked by a labour inspector.  Employers must produce records either while the labour inspector is with the employer or, if that is not practicable, within 10 working days of being asked. 

What are your Record Keeping Obligations?

Employers are required to keep wage and time records, holiday and leave records, and a signed copy of every individual employment agreement that relates to an employee.  Some of the details that employers need to keep a record of will be captured in the written employment agreement, such as identifying information for the employee, what work they do, or whether they are employed under an individual or collective agreement. If employment terms or conditions change, employers need to keep a written copy of any variations.

Employers have a general obligation to keep records in sufficient detail to show they have complied with employee’s minimum entitlements such as receiving minimum wage and minimum leave entitlements.  There are also some specific details employers must keep in relation to wage, time, holiday and leave records, which include:

  1. The hours employees work, every day, including any additional hours.

  2. What pay they receive for those hours and how that is calculated.

  3. Leave entitlements for each employee, including annual and public holidays, alternative holidays, sick, bereavement, and family violence leave and when those entitlements arose.

  4. Dates when employees take leave and what they are paid for the leave.

  5. Cash value of any board or lodgings the employee is entitled to.

  6. The amount and method of calculating final pay and date of payment.

Wage, time, holiday and leave records must be kept in a written form, or in a form that is easy to access and convert into a written form.  There are many electronic payroll systems available that will capture all the required information and can produce written records.  Employers should make sure that the electronic payroll system they use meets legal requirements.

Details of any employment relations education leave taken by employees who are members of a union need to be kept as well.  

Potential Consequences of Failing to Keep Good Records

An employee’s right to access their employment records has not changed and employers who fail to provide access to employment records without good reason run the risk of a disgruntled employee applying to the Employment Relations Authority to impose a penalty against them.  Penalties are up to $10,000 for an individual and $20,000 for a company or corporate body.

The new Act introduces an infringement offence if the employer fails to produce employment records either immediately or within 10 days of being asked by a labour inspector.  A labour inspector has the power to issue an infringement notice straight away, with a fee of $1,000 per offence, up to a maximum of $20,000 in infringement fees within a three-month period. Additionally, a labour inspector can also apply to the Employment Relations Authority for a penalty for each breach of up to $10,000 for an individual or $20,000 against a company or corporate body.

If you would like to know more about your obligations regarding record keeping and ensure that you are not at risk of an infringement offence or penalty, we encourage you to seek legal advice. 



The above information is of a general nature only.  The information in this article does in no way constitute legal advice and all readers should contact a law firm for advice relating to their specific circumstances. 

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