The importance of documentation

Public news

The MTA has always assisted members in resolving underpayment and unfair dismissal claims. One of the most important aspects of such claims is the nature and extent of proper employment documentation that the employer has recorded and kept in relation to its employees.

While documentation can sometimes be viewed as unimportant, time consuming, or even unnecessary, you need to understand that it can also be a powerful and essential tool in defending claims and resolving disputes. Documentation reduces the risk of legal liability and will also promote a sense of professionalism in the business.

On the other hand, an absence of proper documentation can have a significant and adverse impact on you, the employer. For example an employer who hasn’t kept proper attendance or leave records is likely to have great difficulty in defending any underpayment claim by an employee who may have kept such records. Depending on the period involved, any such claim could amount to a significant payment.

Another example is where there has not been the appropriate documentation kept in regards to warnings given to an employee or the appropriate dismissal or resignation acknowledgement records. This could result in unfair dismissal applications becoming more complex and the likelihood of more costs being incurred to defend these claims.

Awards also require employers to maintain certain records. For example, there is an obligation to have written agreement and confirmation of employment status, award classification and hours of work when engaging employees, the casual conversion process, time off in lieu arrangements, cash payment in lieu of annual leave, and commission based payments, to name just some of the requirements.

The Fair Work Act 2009 also requires employers to maintain certain records in ensuring they meet their obligations under the Act. Importantly, when investigating an employee’s underpayment of wages claim, the Fair Work Ombudsman has the power to request the production of records relating to the claim including general employment records, pay records, attendance records, and pay slip information.

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We can assist members with samples or templates on all the above employment related documentation – whether mandatory or simply good practice. Contact us on (08) 8291 2000 or email us by clicking here to discuss your needs in relation to:

  • Contracts of employment
  • warning advices
  • letters of termination
  • written authority to deduct monies from wages
  • WHS policies and procedures

Remember the old saying, ‘If it’s not in writing, it didn’t happen’.

Make sure you protect your business in having the appropriate records!