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The Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act) treats public and private employee records differently

Public sector employee records

The Privacy Act covers Australian Government and Norfolk Island administration employee records. This means the Australian Privacy Principles apply to the handling of any personal information in current and past employee records.

If you are an Australian Government or Norfolk Island administration employee or past employee you can access the personal information in your employee record under the Privacy Act.

Private sector employee records

The handling of your employee records by a private sector employer is exempt from the Privacy Act if it is directly related to your current or former employment relationship.

So, a private sector employer doesn’t have to grant you access to your employee records under the Privacy Act.

The Privacy Act only applies to an employee record if the information is used for a purpose not directly related to the employment relationship.

However, workplace laws require a range of information to be made and kept for each employee. If you are an employee or former employee you can request access to these records under workplace laws.

For more information about accessing your employee record under workplace laws, visit the Fair Work Ombudsman.

For more information about employment conditions, visit the Fair Work Commission