managing people, payroll & time


How Electronic Time Clocks Ensure Compliance with Australia’s Fair Work Act

The Fair Work Act 2009 the defining set of rules dictating how all businesses in Australia can operate. Among its many provisions are regulations setting maximum limits on the number of hours someone can work per week. For both full-time and part-time employees, that’s 38 hours at the absolute most, unless otherwise negotiated in an averaging agreement.

Furthermore, employers have to keep records of employee timesheets and wages for a minimum of seven years. These records have to be easily accessible and clearly understandable in case of an audit by a Fair Work Inspector. Record-keeping can be time-consuming complex, though, so in this blog post, we’ll go over what records you must keep and just how electronic time clocks can help.


Fair Work Act Requirements

The Fair Work Act 2009 requires records to be kept detailing employee hours and pay. It doesn’t state that employees have to track this themselves, but just that a business has to keep these records in some way or another.

In general, your business is expected to track for each employee:

  • All relevant employee identification info, including name and schedule type
  • Number of hours worked per day, including start and end times
  • Number of overtime worked per day, including start and end times
  • Pay rates for regular and overtime hours, and what is paid to them for the day
  • Amount of leave taken and amount available left to take

For a full list of what the Fair Work Act specifically requires, click here for the government’s page on time and pay record-keeping.

As you can see, there are a lot more minutiae to record than just what times an employee punches in and out. Fortunately, the entire process is a lot easier in the age of computers – especially with the use of electronic time clocks.

Electronic Time Clocks

Generally, it’s easier for employees to track their own time, especially when dealing with casual or part-time schedules. But if these timesheets are kept by hand, it ultimately means someone has to collect the sheets from each worker, sit down and evaluate the data, calculate payroll, and store the records somewhere secure yet accessible in case of an audit.

It’s a lot of work and highly subject to human error, but necessary to comply with the Fair Work Act. Improper record-keeping can have devastating financial impacts if caught by a Fair Work Inspector – but there are solutions to make this time-consuming process simpler.

Electronic time clocks are just as they sound: tools meant to track the times a worker punches in and out. The clocks come in a variety of different forms, from simple swipe cards to click-and-go software to more sophisticated biometric clocks, which work via thumbprint or palm scan. 

Here at SME Solutions, we specialise in providing electronic time clock software for companies of all sizes, along with other payroll and time management services. In addition to saving you from the headache of hunting down misplaced timesheets, our electronic time clocks can do so much more.

Saving Time, Saving Money

So, what’s the big deal? The chances of an audit by a Fair Work Inspector is low, so why even keep timesheets in the first place?

It’s true that for smaller enterprises without a lot of time to spare or companies that have always kept paper records, it can be a hassle to track years of timesheet and wage histories even with the implementation of electronic time clocks. But there are numerous benefits to keeping accurate timesheets in addition to the required compliance with the Fair Work Act.

Using electronic time clock software can:

  • Save you money (by avoiding costly fines after Fair Work Inspectors find out about improper records management)
  • Save you time (by eliminating the time needed to collect physical timesheets, tally them, calculate payroll, etc.)
  • Track patterns of behaviour in employees (by identifying any issues with chronic tardiness)
  • Greatly reduce human error (by automating the entire process)
  • Records management is all part of business, so good record-keeping is part of good business. We’re fortunate to live in a world of computers and software that can eliminate the need to manually track time, so if you’re still clinging to paper-and-pencil timesheets, it’s time to streamline the process for you and your employees.

In Conclusion

The employee time software we offer here at SME Solutions is all about making the process easier. Whether you’re a small local company or a large corporation, our goal is to make daily operations more efficient for you. If you have any questions about what we have to offer or just want to learn more, contact us!

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