Workplace GPS Tracking: How Savvy Are Australian Employees?

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Find out how what’s legal and not and where to go with your questions and queries

In 2017, TSheets by QuickBooks conducted a survey to gauge Australian employees’ opinions about workplace surveillance, where more than half of the respondents found it a positive experience and only 9% cried foul.

We decided to dig deeper and uncover just how savvy Aussies are (or are not) when it comes to GPS tracking laws. It is said one should never assume, no matter how common or well known the information may be. This definitely proved true with this survey.

It is worrisome how employers would think it legal to track their employees around the clock or that there is no need to explain to employees just how workplace surveillance would be carried out.

Privacy laws in Australia currently vary by state and territory, with the toughest regulations found in New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory. But this does not give employers outside of those two locations free rein to do as they please. Using the highest standards available to benchmark our quizzes, feast your eyes on how our countrymen and women did.


1. Is workplace GPS tracking permitted in Australia?

Correct answer: Yes, with conditions
27% got this wrong. That’s more than 1 in 4.

2. Do employers need to explain when the tracking will start?

Correct answer: Yes
12% got this wrong. That’s more than 1 in 10.

3. Should employees be given a chance to give their feedback on how GPS tracking is used?

Correct answer: Yes
18% got this wrong. That’s almost 1 in 5.

4. Do employers need to explain how the tracking will be carried out?

Correct answer: Yes
11% got this wrong. That’s more than 1 in 10.

5. If an employer tracks a vehicle by GPS, what must they do?

Correct answer: Display a sign in the vehicle that says it is being tracked
30% got this wrong. That’s 1 in 3.

6. Can employers track new employees by GPS on their first day?

Correct answer: Only if employees are given written notice beforehand
39% got this wrong. That more than 1 in 3.

7. Do employers need to explain whether the tracking will be continuous or intermittent?

Correct answer: Yes
15% got this wrong. That’s more than 1 in 10.

8. Do employers need to explain what kind of tracking is being done?

Correct answer: Yes
13% got this wrong. That’s more than 1 in 10.

9. How much notice should employers give before introducing GPS tracking?

Correct answer: 14 days
29% got this wrong. That’s almost 1 in 3.

10. Can employees be tracked by GPS 24 hours a day?

Correct answer: No
54% got this wrong. That’s more than half.


Change is coming

Whether you’re an employer or employee, it’s important to know not being in NSW or ACT is not an automatic exemption from workplace surveillance regulations. The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) has made it clear proposals are underway to make workplace surveillance laws more consistent across the nation.


Change is manageable

Workplace surveillance is permitted when employers need to protect assets but employees’ privacy must always be considered. If you are looking for a GPS time tracker, make sure it can be turned on and off as needed to keep managers in-the-know without falling foul of the law.


Need more info?

Be sure to check with the corresponding federal or state regulations so you’re always on the right side of the law if you’re an employer and you know your rights if you’re an employee.

1. Commonwealth

2. Australian Capital Territory

3. New South Wales

4. Northern Territory

5. Queensland

6. South Australia

7. Tasmania

8. Victoria

9. Western Australia

Disclaimer: TSheets by QuickBooks does not provide legal or HR advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only and was accurate at the time of publication. It is not intended to provide and should not be relied on for legal or HR advice. You should consult your legal or HR advisors before engaging in any transaction.


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