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Employment records

What records must be kept by employers?

The main employment records that must be kept by employers are:

  • general records
  • remuneration (wages) and hours worked
  • leave records
  • superannuation contributions.

General records

General records to be kept by employers must include:

  • employer name and ABN (Australian Business Number)
  • full name of the employee
  • classification of the employee if set by an industrial instrument
  • whether the employee is full-time or part-time
  • whether the employee is engaged on a permanent, temporary or casual basis
  • whether the employee is engaged as an apprentice or trainee
  • date first employed
  • date of termination.

Remuneration (wages) and hours worked

Records on remuneration (wages) and hours worked to be kept by employers must include:

  • number of hours to be worked each week, day or other period and the number of hours worked during each period
  • number of hours worked during each day and the times of starting and ceasing work each day
  • rate of pay to the employee (mostly paid per hour)
  • if paid piece-work – the number and description of pieces made and the rate per piece the worker is paid
  • gross amount of remuneration paid, showing any deductions made
  • other information as required by the relevant award or agreement.

Leave records

Leave records that employers must keep include:

  • leave (type) taken by the employee (eg annual leave, sick leave)
  • how much leave the employee is entitled to from time to time.

Superannuation contributions

Superannuation contribution records that employers must keep should include:

  • amount of contributions made
  • period over which contributions were made
  • when contributions were made
  • name of fund(s) where contributions were made.

How long do employment records need to be kept by employers and why?

Employment records must be kept for seven years. This is important if there is a dispute between an employer and an employee regarding payment of wages or other entitlements as records allow a comprehensive check of what happened at the time of the dispute.

The employment records establish that an employment relationship existed and the basis of the employment relationship. Employment records can be used as evidence in court proceedings and to prove or disprove the basis of a dispute.

It is the employer’s responsibility to keep records and ensure they comply with relevant industrial laws. If records are not kept or are destroyed on purpose this does not provide a valid defence against a criminal prosecution for breaches of the law.

If accurate records are presented in a court case then employers and employees do not have to try to remember detailed information about what occurred and when. Records help to protect employers against possible false claims of underpayment from previous employees.


Copyright © 2011 Money Stuff

An initiative from NSW Fair Trading


Last Updated: 26 November 2012

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This information must not be relied upon as legal advice. For more information about this topic, refer to the appropriate legislation.

© State of New South Wales through NSW Fair Trading
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