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A construction worker uses his hammer on a pedestrian path in Sydney December 6, 2012. Reuters/Daniel Munoz

The Fair Work Ombudsman has launched an app called Record My Hours in a bid to protect young and migrant workers. Although the ombudsman highlighted features that would benefit workers, it also explained how it would benefit the employers.

One of the benefits of using the app is the small businesses implementation of automated systems. According to the ombudsman, small businesses that do not have resources to implement automated systems can use the app. Using geofencing technology, the app would automatically and accurately record when an employee is at their workplace. The app could record the time that an employee started and finished their shift.

Hospitality-related businesses could benefit from the app as it could record the start times and knock-offs due to the irregularity of the shifts in the workplace. Because some of the shifts would end depending on the reduced customer flow, rather than at a set time, it was a common scenario that notes were recorded in a hand-written manner. If employees use the app, they can send their record to employers. Then the apps data would be matched with the records kept on location at the business. If there are discrepancies, disputes would be addressed early and visits from the ombudsman's inspectors could be prevented.

Record My Hours has a metadata that could provide information if records have been manually edited. It would serve as a reference when matching it to employers' own records. The app could send work-related reminders to be imported to employee's phone.

Ombudsman Natalie James has been encouraging employers to get serious when it comes to keeping records on the hours and wages of their employees. She emphasised its importance by saying that the courts have penalised companies that failed in meeting their legal record-keeping obligations. She added that the government has put forward legislation showing their seriousness about record-keeping related issues.

" Of course, we know the majority of business owners do the right thing and when mistakes occur, many are genuine oversights and are rectified quickly without issue. However we still see far too many examples of records that are either deliberately misleading or so sub-standard that it’s not even possible to conduct an audit and determine whether employees are being paid their correct entitlements," James said in a statement. She said that between 2015 and 2016, 48 percent of the cases filed in court included alleged record-keeping contraventions.

James said that companies should encourage their workforce to download the free app as it could help saving both employees and employers hundreds of dollars. She added that keeping accurate payment records for employees was just as important as keeping a company's tax records.