Paymaster Magazine

Which employee-related records must I keep in order to sleep peacefully at night?

An organisation has a legislated obligation to keep employee-related records

South African legislation makes it very clear that you, the employer, have an obligation to keep employee-related records. You need to make sure that the paperwork is accurate, on time, and available to your employees, to you company-representatives, and to any government representative who may request these during an inspection/audit.

Therefore, knowing exactly where everything is filed (whether it be manually or electronically filed), no doubt makes prudent company sense.

Two methods of filing exists: the ‘old-fashioned’ manual filing method, and the more contemporary electronic document filing method.

Allow me to proceed by discussing which employee-related records need to be filed, and who may request audit-access to these filed documents that ought (at all times) to reside in your organisation’s secure document archives.

What needs to be filed: BCEA-related?

A good start is to to turn to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act 75, of 1997 (BCEA), which informs us of the statutory requirement to have a written contract of employment. This contract ought to include the following details:

  1. the full name and address of the employer;
  2. the name and occupation of the employee, or a brief description of the exact type of work/duties which the employee was hired to perform;
  3. the place of work, and, where the various locations where the employee is required (or permitted) to perform his/her duties;
  4. the date on which the employment contract commenced;
  5. the employee’s ordinary “hours of work” and “days of work”;
  6. the employee’s wage (alternatively, the contract to stipulate the rate and method to be used in order to calculate his/her wages);
  7. the rate/s of pay for overtime work;
  8. any other cash payments that the employee is entitled to;
  9. any payment ‘in kind’ that the employee is entitled to, as well as to clearly state the monetary equivalent-value of this ‘in kind’ method of payment;
  10. how frequently remuneration will be paid (i.e. frequency of payment intervals);
  11. any deductions to be made from the employee’s remuneration;
  12. the exact categories/types of leave which the employee is entitled to;
  13. the period of notice required in order to terminate the employment contract, or if employment is for a limited/specified period of time: the date upon which employment contract ceases;
  14. a description of any bargaining council or sectoral determination that governs further regulations specific to the type of business/organisation which the employee works at;
  15. any period of employment (with a previous employer) that may need to be factored into the employee’s new employment contract;
  16. a list of any other documents that form part of the contract of employment, whilst also indicating where the employee may (reasonably easily) access a copy of each of these documents.

Once an employee’s service with the organisation ends, record of his/her contract of employment must be archived for a period of three years after their leaving.

More filing needed: all hours worked and remuneration paid?

The organisation is compelled to keep a comprehensive set of records of all employees’ monthly hours worked and full details of remuneration paid to each and every employee:

  1. the employer’s name and address;
  2. the employee’s name and occupation;
  3. the period for which the payment is made;
  4. the employee’s remuneration in money; (e) the amount and purpose of any deduction made from the remuneration;
  5. the actual amount paid to the employee; and
  6. if relevant to the calculation of that employee’s remuneration
    • the employee’s rate of remuneration and overtime rate;
    • the number of ordinary and overtime hours worked by the employee during the period for which the payment is made;
    • the number of hours worked by the employee on a Sunday or public holiday during that period;

This aforementioned information must appear on each employee’s payslip. Every single employee must be given a copy of their payslip (which may be done during working hours or within 15 minutes after the employee’s shift has ended).

The organisation is compelled to keep archival record of these documents for a period of 5 years.

Lastly, an inspector (that has been legally and duly appointed in terms of the BCEA) may enter the organisation’s premises at any time, without a warrant or notice, and proceed with a compliance audit. It is incumbent upon the organisation and its representatives to prove that all employment-related records are accurate. Dependent upon the type of contraventions that may be discovered by the inspector, the BCEA provisions for a punitive fine of up to R 500 per employee (and/or a period of imprisonment for up to three years).

Consequently, prudence seems to lie in preparedness: Paymaster recommends that you ensure that your employee-related records are always duly filed (manually, or electronically) and are in order for possible inspection/audit.

Thankfully, Paymaster (after many years of professional service to its clients) has gained the experienced capacity to help make your organisation’s record-keeping an easy, effort-free enjoyment. With an automated payslip process, Paymaster keeps all your essential and valuable employee-records online (safely and securely stored in the Cloud). These records are readily and easily available (at the click of a button) at any time.

Sleep easy at night, without worrying about that BCEA inspector’s ‘knock on the door’!

Further great news: you may elect to process your payroll, Paymaster can do it all for you, on your behalf — a fully outsourced and comprehensive solution for your organisation.

Whatever you decide to choose, be assured that Paymaster has your organisation’s employee-related record-keeping needs fully covered. Ultimate peace-of-mind for you!

Adrian Baillie-Stewart

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