The New Zealand Dairy Farming industry has played a pivotal role in the New Zealand economy for the past near decade. As farm sizes continue to grow, New Zealand dairy farmers are coming under increased pressure by the Department of Labour to keep accurate timekeeping records as they move further away from their primary role as production managers to taking on the role of an employment relations manager as their staffing numbers increase.
There is a requirement under the Employment Relations Act 2000 and the Holidays Act 2003 that requires all employers to keep and maintain a wage/time, and a holiday/leave record for each of their employees. Timesheets benefit both employer and employee including the the dairy farming industry and the most obvious and easiest way to address this is by keeping timesheets for all employees on the farm.
Accurate time records of the hours being worked on a farm ensure both the farmer manager and their employees have the ability to monitor that hours worked are both fair and reasonable in accordance with the employment agreement and can assist with your workforce rostering and annual leave planning.
To ensure you’re compliant some ways to introduce timesheets on your farm are:
- Talk to your employees – let them know that you need to start keeping timesheets on farm so that you can ensure hours worked are fair and reasonable. That you can use the information to make farm improvements, eg to the roster, staff numbers and that there is increasing pressure from the Department of Labour to keep accurate records should you come under scrutiny.
- Make it Easy – Make timesheets a painless and a normal part of everyone’s day on your farm. An easy hassle-free way is by getting your employees to fill out timesheets is by allowing them 24 hour access, so they can fill them out anywhere in their own time this can be achieved by getting online and the leaders in this technology after much research seem to be AgriSmart software www.agrismart.co.nz
- Printed Copies – Keep multiple paper copies of a timesheet templates (you can create your own or google examples) in the farm diary or on a clipboard somewhere handy for your team to access easily.
- Include in Employment Agreements – Update your employee’s employment agreements to address the need to keep a timesheet
- Procedure Manuals – Update the farm policy and procedures manual to include timesheet record keeping.