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The Federal Government's WorkChoices reforms introduce stringent new record-keeping requirements for employers. (1)
Employer groups and small business lobbyists have been highly critical of the new requirements since they were first unveiled in March 2006 in the Workplace Relations Regulations 2006 (Cwth) (Regulations). The government's response to such criticism has been to water down the requirements (in amendments made to the Regulations on 4 June this year) and to further extend the 'grace period' for compliance until 27 March 2007 (the original date was 27 September 2006). Notwithstanding this, employer groups are continuing to lobby for further change to ease what is regarded as a significant (and in many cases unworkable) compliance burden.
Overview of the new requirements
The record-keeping requirements can be found in Chapter 2 of Part 19 of the Regulations. Specific record-keeping requirements for contract outworkers in Victoria in the textile, clothing and footwear industry are also prescribed by Chapter 2 of Part 19A.
The Regulations also impose new requirements for certain particulars to be included on employee pay-slips which must be issued within one day of the payment to which the pay-slip relates. The pay-slip must contain particulars such as the name of the employer, the classification of the employee under any applicable instrument and any amount paid that is an incentive-based payment, bonus, loading penalty rate or other separately identifiable entitlement.
Non-compliance with the record-keeping requirements will expose employers to a penalty of up to $2,750 (and individuals to a penalty of up to $550) for each breach of the requirements. Workplace inspectors are empowered to issue an 'on the spot fine' for non-compliance (capped at one tenth of the maximum penalty). The offences are strict liability offences.
As noted …