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Date June 1st, 2017

Can All Employee Related Documents be Stored Electronically?

In short, the answer is YES FairWork specifically allows for providing and recording the FairWork Information Statement, timesheets, payslips and payment summaries electronically. The Electronic Transactions Act 1999 makes provision for the legal communication and storage of information and documents to be electronic or digital.

As stated in the introduction of the Electronic Transactions Act 1999, part of the aim of this act is to facilitate the use of electronic transactions and to enable businesses to use electronic communications in their dealings with government. For the purpose of this act, “transaction” means anything in the nature of a contract, agreement, statement, declaration, offer or acceptance of an offer.

Therefore all ‘transactions’ between employer and employee may be conducted and recorded electronically. An employer must meet their record keeping obligations, regardless of format.

The following extracts from the outline of the Electronic Transactions Act 1999 are relevant to FairWork and employee related documents:

For the purposes of a law of the Commonwealth, a transaction is not invalid because it took place by means of one or more electronic communications.

The following requirements imposed under a law of the Commonwealth can be met in electronic form:

  • a requirement to give information in writing;
  • a requirement to provide a signature;
  • a requirement to produce a document;
  • a requirement to record information;
  • a requirement to retain a document.

Signatures

If under the law, the signature of a person is required, the employee’s identity must be clear from the method and nature of the communication or transaction. This may mean the employee physically signing the document which is then stored electronically, or it may mean they sign digitally, or it may be that the exchange of electronic communications is enough without a specific signature if both the identity of the employee and intention of the transaction are clear.

Other relevant points from this Act include

If, under a law of the Commonwealth, a person is required or permitted to give information in writing, that requirement is taken to have been met if the person gives the information by means of an electronic communication.

If, under a law of the Commonwealth, a person is required or permitted to produce a document that is in the form of paper, an article or other material, that requirement is taken to have been met if the person produces, by means of an electronic communication, an electronic form of the document.

the method of electronic communication or recording must be relevant to the purpose of the communication or transaction

the method must be reliable and easily accessible

the integrity of the information must be maintained; that is, the document must be a copy of or the actual original, (if it was generated electronically), in complete and unaltered form.

Employee Records

All employee related records can be provided and stored electronically.

  • Tax File Number declaration
  • Employee contact details
  • Superannuation Choice form
  • Employment letter
  • Employment contract
  • Timesheets
  • FairWork Information Statement
  • Payslips
  • Payment summary

Related References

  • Electronic Transactions Act 1999
  • FairWork Act 2009
  • FairWork Information Statement

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