Important changes in employment record keeping
A new act of parliament introduces tougher sanctions, increased record keeping requirements, more powers and tools for Labour Inspectors, amongst other things:
- Tougher sanctions – for breaches of the employment laws the maximum fines have increased to $50,000 for individuals and $100,000 for companies. With company officers and senior staff now being able to be fined as well
- Increased record keeping – poor record keeping can now incur fines of up to $20,000. Changes now require employers to record time worked each day and the pay received for each of those hours
- New tools for Labour Inspectors – will include information sharing with other agencies, such as IRD, Immigration and Companies Office. They will also be able to ask to see any other records they feel they need, including bank records
So what does this mean for most of us?
Here's an example that's close to home. A dairy farmer who employed 30 staff. He had employment contracts for them all, they were all legal and above entitlements, and signed by the employees but the farmer had omitted to sign the contracts himself. This resulted in a $30,000 fine.
This is an illustration of how important it is to be thorough with record keeping of payroll information. In particular, ensuring you have an employment contract for each employee, and that it is signed by both parties. Amendments are being made to the Employment Standards Legislation Bill to increase the penalties for anyone who breaches the minimum employment standards; publically naming employers found to be breaching the above, and creating harsher penalties for unclear record keeping (like the farmer in our example).
Our advice to all payroll processors is to go back to the office and check all payroll records. If a staff person changes from a casual to a permanent employee, ensure you do a new contract. Keep records of all leave applied for and taken, and ensure all minimum requirements are adhered to within the Employment Law.
If you’re not sure, give MBIE (Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment – ex Labour Department) a call on 0800 20 90 20, or phone us on (07) 573 8446. We don't know all the answers, but can steer you in the right direction.