Wageline Newsletter - Record keeping edition

This announcement is for: 
Employee / workerEmployer

The Wageline Newsletter record keeping edition has been published today. The text of the Newsletter is below. 

This edition features information on the record keeping requirements and the penalites that apply to employers who fail to keep employment records.

Wageline Newsletter is an email service which provides updates on:

  • increases to the state minimum wage and WA award rates of pay
  • other changes to key WA awards
  • critical issues employers need to know to comply with state employment laws

You can subscribe to the Wageline Newsletter on the Wageline Newsletter page.

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Employment record keeping obligations

Keeping employment records is a key business requirement that many small business employers get wrong. All state system employers must keep employment records detailing time worked and pay and leave received by employees.

This edition of the Wageline Newsletter focuses on how to get employment record keeping right to save your business potential fines for not meeting legal requirements.

Welcome to Wageline Newsletter

Wageline Newsletter provides information for employers in the state industrial relations system. It is relevant to businesses which operate as:

  • sole traders (eg Jane Smith trading as Jane's Cafe)
  • unincorporated partnerships (eg Jane and Bob Smith trading as Jane's Cafe)
  • unincorporated trust arrangements (Jane and Bob Smith as trustees for Jane's Cafe)

Wageline Newsletter is not relevant for businesses and organisations in the national industrial relations system which operates as:

  • Pty Ltd businesses that are trading or financial corporations (eg Smith Pty Ltd trading as Jane's Cafe)
  • incorporated associations and other non-profit bodies (that are trading or financial corporations)

If your business or organisation is a national system employer please visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website for information on employment obligations.

Legal requirements for employment records

While specific record keeping requirements differ based on whether employees are covered by a WA award or are award-free all state system employers are required to keep employment records for all employees.

Employment records can be written or electronic as long as they are in a form that can be printed. The records must be in English. Time and wage books can be used to keep employment records, however, it is the employer's responsibility to ensure the time and wage book includes all of the required information.

Employers must keep all employment records for at least seven years after they are made for both current and past employees. Records relating to long service leave must be kept during the period of employment and for seven years from the date employment ends.

It is the employer who is legally required to keep the correct employment records. If a small business uses a third party (such as a book keeper) to manage payroll, the legal responsibility is still on the employer to ensure that the required information is collected and maintained.

Penalties for not keeping employment records

Small business employers can be fined up to $5,000 by the Industrial Magistrates Court for not keeping employment records or for keeping inadequate or fraudulent records. A common requirement that employers fail to observe is a lack of detail in keeping employment records, particularly for employees covered by a WA award.

Employers can also be fined for not providing employment records to the Department of Commerce Industrial Inspectors. Industrial inspectors have statutory powers to investigate complaints for employees where appropriate and employers are obliged to provide records when required to do so.

Record keeping requirements

It is compulsory for employers to keep employment records for all employees detailing:

  • the employee's name
  • date of birth if under 21 years of age
  • date the employment started
  • total number of hours worked each week (this does not apply to award free employees earning $45,000 or more per year)
  • the gross and net amounts paid to the employee
  • all pay deductions and the reasons for them
  • all leave taken, whether paid, partly paid or unpaid
  • all information required to calculate long service leave entitlements and payment

If an employee is covered by a WA award, the employer must record the following additional information:

  • name of the WA award
  • daily start and finish time and meal breaks taken
  • employment status (such as full time, part time, casual)
  • employee classification under the award
  • any other information required by the specific WA award (such as address of employee, or hourly rate of pay)
  • any other details required to show the employee is paid in accordance with the WA award such as ordinary and overtime hours, allowances, and penalties

Wageline's record keeping templates

These six templates help small business employers meet their legal obligations for time and record keeping and keep accurate employee leave records. All of the record keeping templates are available on Wageline's website.

These templates are:

  • Time and wages record template
  • Payslip template
  • Employment details template
  • Annual leave template
  • Sick and carer's leave record template
  • Long service leave template

Wageline can help

 Wageline logo 2016.png Wageline can answer your questions about record keeping requirements.


Labour Relations
Department News
08 May 2017

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