I am a full time salaried employee (ie. my contract states I am payed a fixed annual amount, for minimum number of hours a week) for a medium-sized company, working as the sole tech lead for a major project.
This company recently introduced a electronic clock in / clock out shift tracking system across the business, including their many retail stores. This makes sense for the many casual employees who work shifts and are paid by the hour, but all full time staff at head office are also required to use the system, for 'security' reasons.
A while back I noticed that my pay for the week was short by 20%, ie. a days work. Unpaid leave had been placed against my name without my knowledge, which was later explained as being because I had not clocked in or out that day. The issue was rectified, however I expressed concerns at the time that it could happen again, and that doing so without my consent was unlawful.
I often work overnight or early in the morning for my role, and regularly do 11 or 12 hour days fixing issues. My position requires this, especially in the last few months as the project winds up. As a result, I often work from home or come in and out of the office at unusual times. I also occasionally forget to clock in or out, due to something on my mind, but not often.
Increasingly over the last few months I have been receiving emails from HR about missed clock ins and clock outs, with requests to justify the missing times. It is heavily implied that failing to explain these missing times will result in my pay being reduced, which is a violation of my contract. I have spoken to my manager multiple times about it, and although they are on my side, they say nothing can be done as HR is unwilling to consider anything other than a fixed 9-5 Monday to Friday work schedule. I've also discussed the system with HR directly, who say the same, and that all employees are treated this way, regardless of their contract type.
I feel like this system is inappropriate for my position and my status as a full time employee and sole caretaker of a critical system. The constant badgering and time tracking is effecting my morale, which is unfortunate as I enjoyed my work before the change. I suggested that they assume any missing times are worked from 9-5, as I usually do more than that, but this was not accepted. I have also attempted to log the hours I do outside of standard work hours or from home, usually 5 a week, with no results.
I feel as though my only option is some form of peaceful protest to demonstrate that the policies they are asking me to comply with do not apply to me. I am not bound by contract to use the tracking system, or comply with a schedule, only hit a minimum of 40 hours a week, which I regularly exceed by 10 - 15 hours. Given the system is effecting my work, I intend to simply stop using it.
How would you advise that I begin doing this? Should I inform them of my plans to stop using the system first, then follow through, or just let them find out on their own? How can this be a constructive process despite all attempts to negotiate have failed?
PS. I work in Australia, where penalties in the form of docked pay of salaried employees is illegal, in case you need context on labour laws.