- Individual employee records
- General personnel records
- Other records
- Work stoppages
- Design and storage of recorded information
- Official information
- Transfer of recorded information
As employers, boards will need to keep and remember a certain amount of information. This can be divided into the following categories:
- individual employee records
- general personnel records
- other records.
Some records are required by law.
In all cases, boards are required, in terms of the Privacy Act 1993, to ensure that the information should be collected by lawful, reasonably unobtrusive, and fair means, and be complete, relevant, and up to date. Boards are also required to take reasonable steps to ensure personal information is stored securely.
Employees have a right to request access to information on their personal file and are entitled to seek correction where any information is considered inaccurate. There are some situations where an employer may refuse to give a person access to their personal information. These are set out in the Privacy Act 1993. They include the situation where the information is evaluative material and the disclosure of that evaluative material would breach an express or implied promise of confidentiality. If a person believes that the personal information the agency holds about him or her is incorrect, that person can ask that it be corrected. Boards have a responsibility to ensure that the personal information they hold is accurate, up to date, complete and not misleading. Where an agency believes that the information that it holds is correct, it may refuse to change it. The person may then ask that a statement of the correction that they asked to have made and the board has refused to make be attached to the information. Where this occurs, the board must attach the statement to the personal information in such a way that it will always be read in conjunction with the information in issue.
These records will contain information specific to the individual employee. Boards of trustees have inherited certain basic information from the former employing authorities, which will apply to their existing employees. Further information will be gained from any new employees appointed (see Appointments).
The records supplied to boards are likely to consist of:
- the employee's application for the position including a curriculum vitae, if supplied
- the letter of appointment, and any other correspondence
- the employment agreement or the name of the agreement under which the employee is employed
- the letter of acceptance of appointment
- payroll information (tax number, PAYE, any deductions, for example union fees where applicable)
- verification of any previous service (where relevant for leave entitlements, etc.)
- when police vet is undertaken
- qualifications/certificate of registration
- the employee's home address and telephone number
- the employee's next of kin
- timing and content of introductory programme.
Other information which is likely to be added to the employee's personal file would include:
- details of superannuation contributions, if any
- dates of entitlement for each annual leave and sick leave allocation
- authorities for pay deductions, if appropriate
- dates of salary increments
- any decisions of the board (or principal) regarding the employee (for example, decision on appointment)
- dates on which annual leave or any other leave was taken
- amounts paid in respect of leave taken
- any correspondence relating to the granting of parental leave
- a record of the employee performance interview appraisal
- details of any courses, further qualifications or development programmes undertaken
- decisions concerning written complaints against the employee if substantiated by the appropriate process
- a record of oral warnings, and/or copies of written warnings as part of the disciplinary process
- letter of praise/compliments.
It is important to keep these files up to date and secure by filing all relevant papers as they arise.
If the employee leaves the school, a record should be placed on their file as to final date of employment and any specific payments made; for instance, for unused leave.
Boards are also likely to want to keep files of information on the following areas:
- results from exit interviews or exit forms (which may be anonymous)
- EEO statistics in order to monitor and evaluate the progress of the EEO programme on a regular basis
- any recurring problems causing frequent turnover, also useful for the wage round information
- education and development programmes employees have undertaken.
Time and wages
Employers are required under the Employment Relations Act 2000, to keep the following wages and time records showing:
- the employee's name
- the employee's age (if under 20 years of age)
- the employee's postal address
- the kind of work the employee usually does
- the type of employment agreement under which the employee is employed (for example, whether collective or individual)
- the title and expiry date of any collective agreement covering that employee, and the employee's classification under it
- where necessary, for the purposes of calculating the employee's pay, the hours between which the employee is employed on any day, and the days on which he or she is employed during any pay period, and
- the wages paid to the employee each pay period and the method used to calculate the pay.
Under the Holidays Act 2003, boards are required to record:
- the name of the employee
- the date employment commenced
- the days on which an employee works, if the information is relevant to entitlement or payment under the Holidays Act
- the date the employee last became entitled to annual holidays
- the employee's current entitlement to annual holidays
- the employee's current entitlement to sick leave
- the dates any annual holiday, sick, or bereavement leave was taken
- the amount of payment for any annual holidays, sick leave and bereavement leave taken
- the dates of and payment for any public holiday worked
- the number of hours worked on any public holiday
- the date on which the employee became entitled to any alternative holiday for any public holiday worked
- the dates and payment of any public holiday or alternative holiday on which the employee did not work, but for which the employee had an entitlement to payment
- the cash value of board and lodgings provided
- the cash value of any alternative holidays that the employee has surrendered for payment
- the date of termination
- the amount of pay for holidays on termination.
It is recommended that boards check from time to time that they could produce the above information if called upon to do so by an employee's authorised representative or a labour inspector. If accurate records are not kept and a dispute arises, the court may, in the absence of proof to the contrary, accept the employee's claims.
Boards are responsible for ensuring the health and safety of anyone permitted to come on to school premises (see also other material for more general application in schools). In this regard, schools are responsible for complying with the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 (HSE Act) and the Ministry of Educations Health and Safety Code of Practice for State and State-Integrated Schools (the "code").
The Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 requires that employers maintain a register of accidents and serious harm.
Boards and particularly the principals will have received material and information to assist them in developing and maintain appropriate procedures to meet the requirements of the legislation.
There is a joint NZSTA/ACC pack containing easy to use workbooks for meeting the requirements of the legislation called WorkSafe series for schools.
Boards should record in the register:
- every accident that harmed (or might have harmed) any employee at work or any person (including students) in a place of work controlled by the employer
§ every occurrence of serious harm to an employee while at work, or as a result of any hazard to which the employee was exposed while at work, in the employment of the board.
Where serious harm or accidents occur, boards are required to:
- notify the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment as soon as possible
- give the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, within seven days of the harm occurring, written notification in the prescribed form of the circumstances of the occurrence.
A form giving notice or record of accident/serious harm is reproduced in the pack. This form is not compulsory and boards could use their own providing it gives the required information.
Serious harm is defined in the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 as:
- any of the following conditions that amounts to or results in permanent loss of bodily functions, or temporary severe loss of bodily function: respiratory disease, noise-induced hearing loss, neurological disease, cancer, dermatological disease, communicable disease, musculoskeletal disease, illness caused by exposure to infected material, decompression sickness, poisoning, vision impairment, chemical or hot-metal burn of eye, penetrating wound of eye, bone fracture, laceration, or crushing
- amputation of a body part
- burns requiring referral to a specialist registered medical practitioner or specialist outpatient clinic
- loss of consciousness from lack of oxygen
- loss of consciousness, or acute illness requiring treatment by a registered medical practitioner, from absorption, inhalation, or ingestion of any substance
- any harm that causes the person harmed to be hospitalised for a period of 8 hours or more within 7 days of the harm's occurrence.
Boards are also required under the Employment Relations Act 2000 to keep records of work stoppages. A work stoppage is industrial action which results in a total or partial reduction of labour for a continuous period of time. It includes strikes and lockouts, overtime bans, work to rule, and where applicable could include paid union meetings going significantly beyond the maximum 2 hours for any one meeting.
If a strike or lockout occurs, the employer of the employees participating in the strike or affected by the lockout must:
- keep a record, in the prescribed form, of the strike or lockout
- give to Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) a copy of that record, within 1 month after the end of the strike or lockout.
The MBIE treats information from stoppage returns as confidential.
For some information which is repetitive, a board may choose to design standard forms on which to record information and to make finding that information on a file easier (for example, schedules of teacher service).
Principle 5 of the Privacy Act 1993 requires that personal information be secure against loss, modification, or misuse to the extent that is reasonable in the circumstances. It also provides that, where it is necessary for information to be given to a person in connection with the provision of a service to the agency, everything reasonably within the power of the agency is done to prevent unauthorised use or unauthorised disclosure of the information. Boards that are handing personal information to other agencies in connection with the provision of a service of the board have a responsibility to ensure that the other agency will be complying with the Privacy Act. One way of doing this is to provide for compliance in any agreement with that agency.
Individual employee files, in particular, should be stored in a secure place, for example, a locked cabinet. Access to files should be limited to as few people as possible on a "need to know" basis (for example, the principal and staffing committee of the board of trustees) rather than a "like to know" basis. Storage of duplicate copies of essential personnel information should also be considered, in case of accidental destruction of original files.
When an employee leaves the school, it is expected that their file would be retained by the board for a certain period in case of any future inquiries (for example, wages and time records must be kept for 7 years).
The law about access to official information is found in the Official Information Act 1982. The law has two primary purposes:
- to increase the availability of official information in order to promote good government
- to protect sensitive official information, where necessary, in the public interest.
The guiding principle of the Act is that information must be made available if requested, unless a reason exists under the Act for withholding it.
Part 4 of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 provides a right of access to personal information. This right extends to each employee of a board of trustees in respect of any information kept by the board on that employee (that is, their file). The employee is further provided with the opportunity under the Act to correct any personal information held.
In some instances, boards can withhold information and boards should consult the Act or the NZSTA for further details. Confidentiality is important.
If an employee leaves the school to work for another board of trustees, originals of certain information should be supplied to the new board (the board should retain photocopies of this information for its files for the appropriate retention period).
The information should be kept to a minimum. Only that which is relevant to the employment/service needs of the new employer and information on the appropriate entitlements is necessary.
- verification of current and any previous service (list of positions held and dates of tenure, as evidenced by appointment and acceptance letters)
- any leave entitlement still outstanding (for example, unused sick leave) and particulars of leave entitlements based on length of service
- details of superannuation contributions, if any.