New employment standards legislation was introduced last year to give greater protection to employees on “zero-hour” contracts, with no guarenteed hours of work.  However, the changes have wider-reaching implications and in one way or another have an impact on almost all employment agreements, particularly regarding:

Bill Higher Income Earners Contract Personal Grievance Provisions

The Employment Relations (Allowing Higher Earners to Contract Out of Personal Grievance Provisions) Amendment Bill passed its first reading on 22 March 2017.

2 Billion Pay Equity Settlement 55000 Health Care Workers

On 18th April 2017, Health Minister Jonathan Coleman announced that some of the health sector’s lowest paid workers will share in a $2 billion pay equity settlement over five years.

Minimum Wage Increases 50 Cents Hour 1 April 2017

As of 1 April 2017 the new minimum wage rates are:

Positive Step Pay Equity

State Services Minister Paula Bennett has welcomed an agreement with unions which will see the Government’s new pay equity principles applied for the first time.

Deductions Pay Employers Consult First

In accordance with the Wages Protection Act 1983, an employer may make deductions from wages payable to an employee for any lawful purpose with the employee’s written consent.  Written consent includes consent in a general deductions clause in the relevant employment agreement, or on the employee’s written request.  Under s 5A of the Act, an employer must not make a deduction, however, if that deduction is unreasonable.

Clampdown Rogue Employers Breaching Employment Standards

“Migrant workers make a valuable contribution to our workforce and have the same rights as any other worker,” Mr Woodhouse says.

Employment Court Finds 100 Reduction Remedies Permissible Act

Among other interesting things, in this recent case the Employment Court closely examined remedies, and in particular the effect of s 124 in reducing remedies to account for an employee’s contributing behaviour.  In other words, where the employee’s behaviour or conduct (the actions of the employee) contributed towards the situation that gave rise to the personal grievance, then the amount of remedies awarded may be reduced accordingly.  Actions that would normally result in a reduction in remedies are those which may be categorised as being “culpable” or “blameworthy”.

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