Posted on: Dec 11, 2013
Any agreement regarding time in lieu to be taken for working over agreed hours should be written into the employment agreement. The agreement should also make it clear whether the time owed will (or will not) be paid out on the termination of employment. If that is not done an employer may face an unexpected claim on termination of the employee’s employment.
In Jackson v TSL Nelson Ltd  NZERA Christchurch 179, Mr Jackson brought a claim for $19,975.56 for unpaid time in lieu. The Employment Relations Authority found Mr Jackson was employed on a salary to work 40 hours per week and had an unwritten understanding with the employer that he would be paid for hours worked over and above the 40 hours. The understanding was referred to in emails between the parties before Mr Jackson was employed. The Authority awarded the amount sought. It noted that Mr Jackson’s employment agreement provided the terms in the agreement “represented the entire terms and conditions that operate between the parties with respect to the employee’s employment” and that ordinarily such a clause would be a powerful argument against implying a term into an employment agreement. However, in Mr Jackson’s case the Authority said because the agreement had another employee’s name on it (not Mr Jackson’s name) and had not been signed by Mr Jackson it would be dangerous to assume that Mr Jackson considered himself bound by it.
This article, and any information contained on our website is necessarily brief and general in nature, and should not be substituted for professional advice. You should always seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters addressed.