Fair Work Ombudsman creates new app to help employees record working hours
On 21 March 2017, the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) released a publication announcing the introduction of a new app called “Record My Hours.”
The aim of the app is to reduce the amount of disputes about pay and working hours, between employer and employee. The app was also created in response to the FWO being fed up with the amount of businesses who either falsify pay records, or have records that are so sub-standard that auditing the records to determine critical information becomes impossible.
In the current financial year from 1 July 2016 to 31 December 2016, the FWO has already issued $1.8 million in penalties to employers in response to contraventions involving underpayments and record-keeping. The FWO hopes that the app will reduce these types of contraventions and that it will also benefit small businesses which don’t have the resources to implement automated systems that accurately record when an employee starts and finishes their shift.
Intrigued by the app, I downloaded it to see how it works. Once the app is downloaded from the app store, the user is prompted to advise whether or not the app can automatically utilise the user’s location.
If enabled, this location function enables the app to automatically commence timing when the user arrives at work. At the end of the shift, the user can choose to receive a notification confirming the hours worked.
If the automatically recorded information is incorrect, the user can manually edit the information. However, the FWO has made it clear that if a dispute arises, metadata in the app will make it clear when records have been manually edited.
The app also provides information about how to contact the FWO in the event of a workplace query or dispute, and provides other functions such as reminders for when a shift is due to start.
The information contained in the app is stated as 100% private but the user has the ability to export records and to share information with other parties, including the FWO, if the user chooses to do so.
The introduction of this app means that employers now have less of an excuse not to keep proper records, especially when it comes to employee pay records. The app is useful to ensure both employee and employer are in agreement as to hours worked. However, this should not detract from the need for employers to ensure they have a proper system in place to accurately record employee hours. In fact, this app provides an incentive for employers to review their current systems to make sure they are accurately recording information as employee’s now have the benefit of this app in the event of a dispute.
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