Join us for this timely and insightful webinar on the possible changes the new (to be) Coalition Government may make to employment legislation and landscape.
Employment experts James Crichton, Barrister and Employment Law Specialist, and Madeline Wrigley, Business Partner will provide valuable insights and share their assessment of what’s ahead, potential impact on current practice, and how employers can prepare.
Whether you are an employer, owner-operator, business manager, or HR professional, don’t miss this opportunity to stay informed and to help prepare your business, organisation and team, as we head towards 2024.
Secure your participation now – click register and be at the forefront of understanding and adapting to the evolving employment landscape.
Date: 5 December 11am-12pm
Workplace conflicts are like unwanted guests – they tend to show up uninvited and disrupt the harmony. Understanding the root causes of these conflicts is an important first step toward finding effective solutions. Here, we delve into four of the common reasons for workplace conflicts that we come across and provide a range of strategies, from low-level interventions to more escalated approaches, to help address and resolve them.
1. Differences in Communication Styles:
Miscommunication is a common catalyst for workplace conflicts. People have diverse ways of expressing themselves, leading to misunderstandings and tension.
• Foster a culture of open communication (note this is different from a culture of saying whatever you want).
• Implement policies outlining what type of communication is and isn’t acceptable.
• Provide communication workshops to enhance skills in active listening and clarifying messages to ensure understanding.
• Reiterate expectations when conflict arises relating to communication.
• Mediation can be beneficial when conflicts persist despite improved communication efforts.
2. Differences in Work Styles:
Varied work methods and approaches can create friction, especially when team members don’t appreciate each other’s methodologies.
• Promote understanding of different work styles within the team.
• Encourage colleagues to adapt and appreciate diverse approaches.
• Conduct conflict resolution training to help people navigate differences constructively.
• Involve HR, a well-respected manager, or a mediator to work through disputes and find compromises.
3. Lack of Recognition and Fairness:
When employees feel undervalued or unfairly treated, it can lead to resentment and hostility in the workplace.
• Implement regular feedback sessions to acknowledge and appreciate employees’ contributions.
• Ensure transparency in promotions, assignments, and recognition.
• Establish transparent performance evaluation processes.
• Involve HR or a neutral mediator to address concerns about recognition and fairness, ensuring a fair resolution.
4. Conflicting Interests and Goals:
When individual goals clash with team objectives, it can lead to resentment and disputes among colleagues.
• Facilitate team-building activities to promote a sense of shared purpose.
• Encourage goal alignment within teams.
• Establish clear team goals and individual roles.
• Seek third-party facilitation if conflicting interests continue to disrupt teamwork.
Addressing workplace conflicts requires a combination of understanding, appreciation, communication, and intervention strategies. By recognising the causes early on and applying appropriate solutions, organisations can create work environments where conflicts are minimised, and employees can focus on their tasks productively.
If you would like to understand more about how our team of experts can assist your workplace to upskill in conflict management or address ongoing conflict, please get in touch with us.
With a National Party, ACT and NZ First government on the way, we thought it would be good to be reminded of how some of their election campaign promises might impact employment relations.
Each of these parties’ had 2023 election campaigns that touched on employment relations, and while the new Government may or may not bring some of these policies into law – here are the potential adjustments that have been floated.
Restoration of 90-Day Trial Periods for Larger Employers:
The 90-day trial period policy has seen back-and-forth changes over the years. Originally introduced by the National party in 2009, it was expanded nationally in 2011. However, when Labour came into power in 2017, trial periods were restricted to employers who employ fewer than 20 employees.
National and Act’s manifestos however proposed that in the first 100 days it will revert the law so the 90-day trial periods available for all employers.
Dependent on the changes that are made to the law, the 90-day trial application could be different despite the well-established case law.
In our experience, the 90-day trial period can be a double edged sword for employers who rely on the trial period but don’t have a strong understanding (or seek good advice before relying on the trial period) of how to comply with the strict requirements of the legislation. This can lead to greater risk of personal grievances than if they didn’t have access to the trial period.
Employers interested in using 90-day trials should consult with experts to ensure they comply with the requirements.
Scrapping the Fair Payment Agreement Act:
Both National and Act have committed to repealing the Fair Pay Agreement Act of 2022.
This act aimed to create a process for workers to negotiate industry-wide minimum employment standards, such as pay, leave, training, safety, and more. At least 7 FPA applications are underway at various stages, however none have been settled.
For most employers this will be good news as it will enable employers and employees to continue to negotiate terms and conditions that are right for them rather than be subject to broad industry requirements which may be difficult and costly for smaller employers to comply with.
Changes to Parental Leave:
National plans to modernise paid parental leave rules, allowing parents more flexibility in using their entitlements, including taking leave at the same time. This change could provide more options for parents in managing their leave and caregiving responsibilities.
Proposed Amendments to ERA2000
Act’s manifesto has targeted certain areas of the Employment Relations Act 2000 that it seeks to amend. Specifically, amending the Act so contractors are prevented from challenging their employment status under S6 of the Act in the Employment Court and that independent contractor agreements meet a certain criteria.
This proposed change is likely in response to the increased number of cases being raised with the Employment Relations Authority and the Employment Court by employees and Unions who represent a sector of workers who challenge their legal status as a contractor. While the case law in this areas has only grown and set a firm bar for the employee vs contractor test, it is a legal area that many organisations have struggled to navigate. A change to this would therefore have a significant impact on how many organisations choose to operate and manage workers, due to the risk of a challenge being brought being reduced entirely.
Other changes are amending the Act to restrict the availability of reinstatement remedy and speeding up the PG process by imposing stricter time limits on the Employment Relations Authority.
Other commitments made during the 2023 Election Campaigns:
• Halting work on the proposed Income Insurance Scheme (National)
• Increasing the cap on seasonal workers (National)
• Relax rules for agricultural workers on the Accredited Employer Work Visa by removing median wage requirements and introducing a path for residency (National)
• Sectors who have worker shortages able to access additional working holiday visas (National)
• Remove a public holiday (Act)
• Restore the Targeted Trade and Apprenticeship Fund (Act)
• Replace the Accredited Employer Worker Visa with a Critical Skill and Labour Shortage Visa (Act)
• Examine the feasibility of lifting the adult minimum wage to $25 per hour, by allowing businesses a tax concession to do so (Act)
While there is no certainty that all or even some these will be implemented, we can say with certainty that there will be change coming in 2024 to the employment landscape.
Here at Three60 we are experts at managing change and strategising with employers to navigate changes such as these. Reach out to us today.
Starting from October 1, 2023, workers in the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) program will receive higher pay and sick leave benefits. Also, their sick leave will begin from the first day of employment.
- As of October 1, 2023, employers in the RSE program must pay workers at least the minimum wage plus an additional 10% for the hours they work. This amounts to $24.97 per hour currently. The RSE program allows the the horticulture and viticulture industries to hire workers from other countries for seasonal jobs when there aren’t enough local workers available in NZ.
- RSE employers must ensure that workers are paid for a minimum of 30 hours every week, even if there isn’t enough work. Employment agreements must outline the hourly pay, any piecework rates, the minimum pay requirements, and the employer’s commitment to cover half the cost of the airfare for the worker to travel from their home country to New Zealand.
- RSE employers are required to provide their employees with on-site amenities at work that are both safe and adequate. Workers are expected to cover reasonable housing expenses, including rent, utilities, and other living expenses.
- Deductions from pay must also follow specific rules. Maximum amounts are not indicated because deductions under RSE Instructions must be for actual, reasonable, and verifiable costs, that make sense and can be proven.
- All workers receive information about their rights and responsibilities under the RSE program. Employers are also responsible for looking after the well-being and basic needs of RSE workers, and ensuring their minimum entitlements are met and upheld throughout their employment.
- The pay increase also applies to RSE workers who were granted RSE Limited Visas before October 1, 2023. RSE workers will now receive paid sick leave from the very first day they begin working. Previously, RSE workers were eligible for sick leave after working for 6 months, as outlined in the Holidays Act 2023.
- With the new sick leave rules, RSE workers will get 2 days of sick leave starting from their first work day, and an extra 2 days each month until they reach a total of 10 days on their 4-month work anniversary. However, this change in sick leave rules doesn’t apply to workers who were granted RSE Limited Visas before October 1.
- If an RSE worker switches from one employer to another, the new employment agreement must also adhere to the minimum pay and sick leave requirements.
It is important for employers to meet these improved policies and guidelines, to improve the working conditions for RSE workers, so that their rights and dignity are upheld.
At Three60, we can ensure your agreements are up to date and compliant with the latest employment updates. You can also contact us if you need some more information or clarification about your rights or obligations, as our team have expertise across a diverse range of HR and employment issues.
We continue to be faced with a range of factors that are putting pressure on workplaces to reassess their size and shape. These can require us to review and change how we operate.
The way we approach and prepare for change in the workplace can make all the difference, especially in the current economic environment.
Join our upcoming webinar on getting you change ready. Our Senior Associates Sarah Sherwin and Katharine Collins will provide their insights for working through change, and outline how you can mitigate risk.
What will be covered?
- The current environment and influences
- A check-in on being ready for change
- What you need to work through to manage change well in the workplace
- Building a proposal for change
- The importance of employee feedback
- Working through options when people’s roles are impacted by change
- Communications and engagement
- Identifying and managing risk
- Case studies
🗓️ Date: 20/09/2023 | ⏰ Time: [11am] Cost $49 📍 Location: Online Webinar
Fair Pay Agreement for Commercial Cleaners Approved
A new application to initiate a Fair Pay Agreement (FPA) for Commercial Cleaners was approved on 19 June 2023. While for most people this went unnoticed, look again as it may be of real importance for employers.
If you have any employees whose work involves 25% or more of any of the included job classifications below, this FPA will end up setting minimum terms and conditions for your employees. You cannot opt out of an FPA!
Your employees will retain any terms and conditions they have in their employment agreements (Collectives of Individual Agreements) above what is agreed in an FPA. This means as well as new minimum base pay rates, overtime and penal rates may be included and would now be payable, as well as redundancy compensation and additional requirements relating to training and health and safety.
Below is a list of the roles/work specifically included and excluded in the approved FPA application. Please check this to see if you have any of your employees whose job is potentially 25% or more of the roles listed below in the “INCLUDED” column.
If you believe you have employees who may be covered (or you need clarification), please call us, and we can advise you on what you may have to do and how we may assist you.
As this application is now approved, there are obligations right now as an employer who has employees covered under the proposed FPA.
These obligations include;
- Giving union information to your employees (regardless of whether or not they are union members)
- Giving the relevant unions employees contact information
- Giving your employees the opportunity to opt-out of having their information shared with the union party
Which jobs/Work is included?
|• Aircraft Cabin Cleaner
• Assistant Housekeeper – (Not Private)
• Church Cleaner
• Cleaning Supervisor
• Commercial Cleaning
• Factory Cleaner
• Factory Sweeper
• Hospital Cleaner
• Hospital Housekeeper
• Hotel Cleaner
• Hotel Housekeeper
• House Staff
• Accommodation Services
• Housekeeper (Not Private)
• Housemaid (Not Private)
• Industrial Cleaner
• Motel Cleaner
• Motel Housekeeper
• Nursing Home
• Office Cleaner
• Rest Home Cleaner
• School Cleaner
|· Domestic Housekeepers (ANZSCO 811412): cleaning, cooking and performing other housekeeping tasks in private residences.
· Laundry Workers (General) (ANZSCO 811511): sorting, cleaning, folding, ironing and packaging linen, clothing and other items in laundries and dry-cleaning establishments, and private residences.
· Drycleaners (ANZSCO 811512): cleaning clothing, garments, upholstery and other fabrics using dry-cleaning agents and machines.
· Ironers or Pressers (ANZSCO 811513): ironing or pressing garments and other fabrics, such as delicate and formal wear, in a commercial laundry or private residence.
· Carpet Cleaners (ANZSCO 811611): cleaning carpets, rugs and furniture upholstery using powder, liquid and steam cleaning methods, and applying soil-repellent chemicals and deodorants.
· Window Cleaners (ANZSCO 811612): cleaning interior and exterior window surfaces.
· Cleaners not elsewhere classified(ANZSCO 811699): cleaners not elsewhere classified, including chimney sweeps, graffiti cleaners, high pressure cleaners, swimming pool cleaners.
· Building Exterior Cleaners
· Pool Cleaner
· Hostel Supervisors
The Worker Protection (Migrant and Other Employees) Bill has been passed, marking a significant milestone in protecting vulnerable workers in Aotearoa New Zealand.
This will take effect on January 6, 2024. The legislation introduces amendments to the Immigration Act 2009, the Employment Relations Act 2000, and the Companies Act 1993.
The Worker Protection Act constitutes the final component of the comprehensive Migrant Worker Exploitation programme package. This package includes a dedicated 0800 reporting line and webform, joint compliance efforts by the Labour Inspectorate and Immigration New Zealand, a support liaison service specifically tailored for exploited migrant workers, and proactive information and educational campaigns aimed at preventing exploitation.
At its core, the Act is designed to establish a robust system of offenses and penalties, with the primary aim of deterring employers from exploiting migrant workers. Among its key provisions, employers will be legally bound to respond to the requests of the Labour Inspectorate within 10 working days, including the provision of employment-related documents. Failure to comply within this timeframe will result in an infringement offense.
This represents a significant step forward in addressing migrant worker exploitation in Aotearoa New Zealand. By introducing new infringement offenses, this will address lower-level breaches which often lead to more severe exploitation.
Also under this legislation the High Court has been granted the authority to disqualify individuals who have been convicted of exploiting illegal employees and temporary workers under the Immigration Act 2009, or involved in trafficking in persons offenses under the Crimes Act 1961, from serving as directors of New Zealand companies.
All employees in New Zealand, which includes migrant employees, are expected to be provided by law with a range of minimum entitlements, including; written employment agreements, paid rest breaks and unpaid meal breaks, minimum wages, annual leave, sick leave, bereavement leave, parental leave, and domestic violence leave, public holidays, and accurate accounting of wage and time records.
At Three60 Consult, we offer a range of services and employment relations advice including knowing your rights and obligations as an employee, and for employers, making sure that your employment agreements and policies are up to date including relevant legislative amendments. We can help to ensure your policies and agreements are fit for purpose and meet the legal requirements.
If you employ migrant workers we have experts in this field who can offer advice, and answer any questions you may have.
Get in touch with Three60 Consult today to find out more.
From Change-Fatigue to Change-Ready
We’ve been thinking a bit about change, which can often feel like something that’s done to us, not something we plan for, manage or control. This can feel particularly so in the workplace, where it can present a variety of challenges and be difficult to do well.
These days, many people are change-fatigued. This is understandable given the pace, size and complexity of what we’ve been dealing with in recent times, in all aspects of our lives. Employers and employees have had no choice but to adapt, adapt and adapt, as organisations and individuals, and the pressure isn’t going away.
As we move beyond a pandemic, we are faced with a range of influences that will no doubt require continued activities to review and change – lower business confidence, slower growth, inflationary pressures, low unemployment (that may increase then decrease), a continued shortage of talent, cost pressures, weather impacts, social challenges, and an upcoming general election. Then there are things like new technologies and digitalisation, and the ongoing feeling to be ‘always on’, while balancing our well-being and personal lives.
So how do we prepare for further change – to be ‘change-ready’? We’ve thought about a few things employers and employees can do to help here, to be well-equipped, and to enable shared success and solid, sustainable employment relationships.
Have your house in order. For employers, when it comes to your people and managing well through change, make sure you are clear on your obligations – that your employment agreements, policies and procedures are in place, relevant and up to date, and that your ways of working are clear and communicated. The same goes for your data and information, which supports quality decision-making. All this makes it easier and clearer for everyone involved if you need to consider doing things differently.
For employees, also know your obligations, your employment agreement and what is expected of you. Learn about and know the business you work in, and constructively participate as if it were your own.
Ensure your goals and vision are clear. Employers need employees to know what they are part of, what they are working towards, and what their role is. (Ever heard the story of the stonecutter who was building a cathedral? When three stonecutters were each asked what they were doing, the first replied, “I am cutting stones”, the second replied “, I am cutting stones to make money to support my family”, and the third replied, “I am building a cathedral!”).
Employers need to share and talk about goals and what the future looks like, and to then help employees understand what change may be required, why and what it would mean for them. Performance goals and expectations should be understood and able to be adapted, while giving and receiving feedback should be a normal part of the way of working, while making continuous improvements.
Communication and engagement. Keeping it regular, open, and transparent is critical to everyone feeling informed and part of what’s going on, even more so when it comes to change. Like feedback, make it genuinely two-way so that employees are involved, want to participate, know their ideas are listened to and that their contribution is valued. It works well when employers use various channels or ways to communicate and engage – a mix of in-person, one-to-one and team meetings, emails and updates. Find ways that work for your business and team. And repeat, repeat, repeat.
Employees need to be proactive in asking questions and constructively sharing information, observations, ideas and concerns. Everyone has a role in taking ownership to get the information they need for things to work well and helping others to do so. No one likes surprises when it comes to change.
Build and develop leadership capability and skills. Leadership is critical at the best of times, more so during change. Supporting leaders to lead through change, giving them the information, tools and resources they need is part of any successful change. Change leadership can come from employees too – encouraging and allowing individuals to show personal leadership helps to champion change. Employees can look for ways to do this to provide more successful outcomes and build stronger, more valuable employment relationships and trust.
Ongoing training and development. It is important to continue developing new skills and knowledge, for people to evolve and remain relevant. No matter what change needs to take place, the shortage of talent makes it critical to support and invest for short, medium and long term success, for any organisation and employee. This is a shared responsibility, and employers and employees need to collaborate on keeping up to date, maintaining an external focus on what’s happening, and what skills and knowledge are required, now and in the future. Know your strengths as an employer and employee, and find ways to leverage these. Look for opportunities to enhance your toolkit, to diversify, and find potential opportunities that come from change.
Be flexible, open-minded, and challenge your thinking. This can help make it easier to deal with change and being able to adapt to the situation and environment, what’s required, and new ways of working. Encourage an environment of awareness of self and others, to appreciate differences and leverage the diversity you have, including in the different ways of thinking amongst the team.
Develop and maintain your network and connections with others. It is truly beneficial to have access to a diverse mix of people and contacts inside and also outside of your organisation – whether other employers, industry groups, networks, and competitors, especially in times of change. This can provide support, ideas, opportunities, problem-solving, insights and sometimes fresh perspectives or a different point of view.
Managing through change, although challenging, can still lead to successful and sustainable outcomes for everyone involved. Dealing with and working through ongoing change (and change- fatigue) requires collaboration, understanding and appreciating others, focusing on the future and working out where best to spend your time, energy and money.
It can also help to remember that change is not usually personal, even when it feels like it. Developing a change-ready approach and mindset can help navigate the road ahead and enable employers and employees to prepare; to be ‘change-ready’.
Contact us at Three60 Consult if you would like to discuss any aspect of working through change in your organisation. Our team of employment experts are experienced in all aspects of preparing for, managing, and reinforcing change. We can help identify and assess your needs, develop and implement plans, diagnose challenges and identify appropriate solutions. Our team is here to support you and find a sustainable way forward for the ever-changing environment and the future.
Ever had an employee repeatedly refuse to follow management instructions by either responding combatively or ignoring the instruction, even for what may seem like simple yet repeated instructions?
Two cases from the Authority* recently considered these very scenarios and found that a reasonable employer could consider that persistent breaches of a lawful and reasonable instructions amounts to serious misconduct, resulting in the loss of trust and confidence in the employment relationship and warranting dismissal. In these recent cases the instructions were for the employees to stay off their phone while at the workstation and wear the agreed uniform.
While these cases have different facts, there are common factors which the Authority considered justified the employers’ decisions. When confronted on their repeated breach of instruction, both employees in these cases yelled, used inappropriate language towards their manager and failed to offer explanation for why the instruction was not followed.
During the investigation meetings, the employees also failed to reflect on their behaviour and to provide a reasonable explanation to the employers for the repeated breaches.
The fact that the employers also had clear policy on what behaviour/actions constituted misconduct or serious misconduct, including this type of behaviour, meant that it was within scope for the employers to consider these behaviours amounted to serious misconduct.
These cases demonstrate that ensuring you have all your ducks in a row including setting expectations clearly, being transparent in their communication and following a procedurally fair process they can take meaningful action to address wilful obstruction. It is also important to be mindful that the courts didn’t address the issue of less wilful failure to follow instructions such as forgetfulness.
Three60 can provide employers support and assistance to employers when it comes to navigating these scenarios but also setting up the employment relationship for success by creating policies and processes that are clear to all parties in the employment relationship. Contact our team today to learn more.
*Cases referred to:
– TURNER-MCMILLAN v CANTERBURY ALUMINIUM LIMITED  NZERA 292
– EDWARDS v JS EWERS LIMITED  NZERA 281
There’s been a lot of talk recently about AI and the impact AI will have or is currently having on the future of employment relations. Chat GPT has already proven remarkably adept at recruiting, researching, writing, analysing and designing. Scarily so. However, something that I think AI will never be able to do and is something I’ve noticed, particularly post-Covid 19, is the art of holding difficult conversations.
During the outbreak, and especially while we were all in isolation, employers encouraged their employees to consider their own well-being and put family first—a good response to a uniquely challenging time. Fast forward two years and the economic and employment landscape has changed. The fiscal outlook for 2023 is challenging but equally so is staff retention. In this climate, many employers are worried that setting expectations through challenging conversations with their staff, they risk losing them or, worse, being deemed a bully.
I’ve asked my friend Chat GPT how to run a difficult conversation which it suggests, and I agree, “is an essential skill for personal and professional growth”. But, notably, Chat GPT also calls challenging conversations “stormy conversations”, and here, I tend to disagree. Challenging conversations don’t need to be stormy, but rather when appropriately held, they are one of the most constructive tools in any HR/ER’s kit and something which will always set us above our AI friends.
So, how do you hold a constructive challenging conversation? I’ve learned the value of addressing issues early before unwanted behaviour becomes a habit. This takes courage, especially at the start. Then it’s all about the preparation. Consider the likely responses you may get and prepare for them while still maintaining an open mind. Try to balance preparation with confidence- be purposeful, and remember to put things in context. It’s natural for people to respond emotionally, but don’t allow emotion to derail purpose. Finally, remember to debrief; challenging conversations, like any other skill, take practice and can certainly be learned.
And don’t forget often the key to being an effective communicator is to understand more about yourself in situations of conflict or challenge. Knowing how you impact a conversation will enable you to manage these tough but necessary conversations.
If you would like to learn more about managing challenging conversations or creating a workplace culture where they are the norm, Three60 Consult is here to help. We offer in-house tailored workshops for team learning and individual coaching from one of our of trained mediators and facilitation experts.