Rosters & timesheets

If you employ staff, you may need to create rosters and timesheets to record their hours of work. You must keep these employee records for 7 years.

How to create a timesheet or roster

A roster is a timetable that shows the days and times your employees are required to work. It usually includes the employees name, date and hours to be worked and any scheduled breaks.

A roster needs to be displayed in an easy to access place for employees and given in advance. Awards, enterprise agreements and other registered agreements can set out extra rules about changing rosters and how and when employees are given rosters.

Visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website for free roster and timesheet templates to help you get started.

Changing the roster

Changing the roster by asking an employee to start earlier their rostered start time, or stay back after their rostered end time is common in many industries, particularly in retail and hospitality. This can be due to seasonal customer fluctuations, or to meet the operational needs of the business.

If you want to change your employee’s regular roster or ordinary hours of work, you have to discuss it with your employees first. You have to:

  • provide employees with information about the change (e.g. what the change will be and when)
  • invite employees to give their views about the impact of the change
  • consider these views about the impact of the change.

It is important to understand the awards, agreements and any rules that may apply when changing rosters. You can find more about Hours of work, breaks and rosters and how these apply to your industry on the Fair Work Ombudsman website.

Starting work before a rostered start time

Depending on the type of business, examples of when you need to ask your staff to arrive early may include:

  • setting up the store or business for their shift
  • performing tasks such as cleaning or preparing a product
  • receiving a hand-over from other staff finishing their shift
  • performing other tasks essential for the running of the business.

If your employee is covered by a modern award or the National Minimum Wage and you ask them to start work before their shift is rostered to begin, this time is counted as hours worked and they must be paid for it.

Staying back after a rostered end time

Similarly, if an employee is asked to stay back and perform tasks after their shift has ended, they’re entitled to payment for this time. This can include asking staff to stay back to:

  • pack up
  • prepare stock for tomorrow.

It's also important to remember that if an employee is required to attend any meeting or compulsory training event, these need to be paid as time worked.

When creating your roster, account for these extra time periods in your employee’s total hours of work. You'll also need to consider whether these hours will result in overtime for your employees.

You must ensure that the hours shown on an employee’s payslip are a true reflection of the actual hours worked.

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