MTA members are reminded of the strict rules permitting very limited deductions from employee wages for payment of staff accounts. The Fair Work Act 2009 (section 324) states such employer deductions must be “authorised in writing by the employee and (be) principally for the employee’s benefit”. Interpretation of “for the employee’s benefit” should specifically include purchases requested by the employee at trade rates for repairs, parts, short term loans or money advances.
However, when an employee requests a purchase on their individual staff account, the legislation makes it clear that every individual transaction or purchase must be authorised in writing, specifying the amount to be deducted “and may be withdrawn in writing by the employee at any time.”
As a consequence, it is strongly recommended members have a written authorisation on each job card, purchase order or other requests for financial support. Such authorisation must be signed and dated prior to each request by the employee as the legislation does not permit a generalised authorisation. It is important to remember that disputes arise where paperwork is inaccurate and the employee leaves owing money on the account.MTA Members seeking further clarification on the above matters should contact the MTA’s Workplace Relations team by calling 8291 2000 or by clicking here.