3 min read
Time recording in dairy farming is a legal requirement for tracking employees' wages, time, and leave. This page discusses different methods for recording time, like paper-based or app-based systems, with their benefits and drawbacks. Consider what suits your employees and your ability to handle different systems. The information collected can include start and finish times, breaks, tasks, and leave. Encouraging staff to fill in timesheets and keeping the momentum going is vital, with various tips provided to assist in this process. The page also highlights the importance of adhering to minimum wage laws.
It is now law for employers to maintain a wage, time and leave record for each employee (either waged or salaried).
Having accurate information on hours worked ensures pay requirements are completed correctly and hours are in accordance with the employment agreement. It can also assist with workforce planning, identifying areas for training and where workload could be reduced or new processes introduced.
Time recording can be paper-based or completed via an app or computer, and ideally will be interlinked directly to a payroll system.
Consider what your employees are likely to use, where they will access the timesheet (e.g. home, in the dairy), and your ability to mix systems (e.g. some do online and others paper-based).
Where time is recorded using pen and paper either via a timesheet or written in a book like the farm diary or carbon copy invoice book.
Benefits: Simple to use, easy to understand, and doesn’t rely on technology
Drawbacks: Can easily be forgotten, a person has to be around to fill it in and it relies on math skills. Files have to be kept for 7 years.
These vary from simple app timesheets to more sophisticated systems that can include rostering, alerts to comply with minimum wage, employee time broken down by task, dashboard etc.
Benefits: Simple to use, people frequently have their phone with them, holds a record for you, reporting is easy, employees can see their hours worked, info can often be migrated into a payroll system.
Drawbacks: Requires smartphone and phone connectivity, staff need to be confident using the technology.
Decide on the level of detail you would like to include:
It can be challenging to get people excited about filling in timesheets. This could be because they don’t know how, or they can’t see any benefit in taking the time to do it. Tell your team that you want to start keeping timesheets for all employees and explain that the information will be used to make sure work hours are paid fairly and to make improvements to the roster or staff numbers.
Discuss and decide with your team how time will be recorded, including:
Ask that every employee takes responsibility for filling out timesheets accurately and on time, then once in place, allow everyone time to get used to the system. Some people may need extra help or support to get used to doing timesheets.
Often, new habits start with a hiss and a roar, but if you find a few weeks or months down the track timesheets are being neglected, try some of the following tips, shared with us by farmers.
Important: be very careful if considering withholding payment due to lack of timesheet information.
All employees are entitled to be paid the minimum wage for each hour they work within each week.
Seasonal averaging, whereby employers average out pay across a 12 month period, with the intention that high hours per week worked during calving will be offset by working fewer hours per week in the low season, is not allowed in relation to minimum wage. Each hour must be paid at least the minimum wage.
This may mean that top-up payments are required, so employees earn at least the minimum wage during busy seasons.
Keep up to date with the current minimum wage by visiting the Employment New Zealand website