Employment Court Confirms Availability Requirements Extend Beyond “Zero-Hour Contracts”
In a recent Employment Court case, the Court confirmed that employers who seek to require an employee to be available for addition…
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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”.
The first issue was whether a 100% reduction in remedies was in fact permitted by s 124 of the Act (reducing the remedy due to contributing behaviour by the employee). Chief Judge Colgan considered that there was a “respectable argument” that it was not, but he thought the matter needed to be addressed another time and by a full court.
Discretionary payments have been a relatively grey area for businesses, and employers have sought, by contract or by policy, to avoid their liability to include bonus payments in any annual leave payment calculations on these grounds.
Last month, a case came out of the Employment Court denying interim reinstatement for unvaccinated workers at Christchurch Airport.
This is the first case in which section 67D of the Employment Relations Act (regarding availability provisions) has been considered by the Employment Court.