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Employment legislation changes

15 March 2019: A significant number of changes have recently been introduced into the legislation governing employment relationships.  Some of these changes have already taken effect, whilst there are further changes coming in April, May and June this year. It is important that employers understand the changes and put in place the right mechanisms, documents and […]

New Bill legislating for fairer workplaces proposed

The Government introduced a new Bill on 25 January 2018 which intends to amend the Employment Relations Act 2000 with the aim of providing greater protection for employees and workers. The Government believes there is a need to restore fairness and balance into New Zealand workplaces. The changes are as expected and include restrictions imposed […]

Unjustified dismissal before employees started work

In a recent case out of the Christchurch Employment Relations Authority, two employees were unjustifiably dismissed before they had even commenced work. An important point to note is that the 90 day trial period was not able to be relied on because the employment had not actually commenced. Two female employees were employed to work […]

Dotting your I’s and Crossing your T’s when it comes to the 90-Day Trial Period

Speculation over the 90-day trial period and whether it is valid or not has come to light again with a recent case out of the Employment Relations Authority, see: Clark vs Lighthouse ECE Limited [2016] NZERA Auckland 281. The Authority found that the trial period clause was invalid, because it did not specify the date […]

Unpaid pre-employment test not part of trial period

A recent determination from the Employment Relations Authority has found a voluntary, unpaid pre-employment test did not form part of a trial period.  The employees personal grievances for unjustified dismissal and disadvantage failed. After attending an interview for a position in a salon, the candidate agreed to work as a volunteer for one day so […]

Employment agreement should be signed

In the past it has been thought that getting a new employee to sign and return a covering letter would be sufficient acknowledgment and acceptance of an employment offer and the terms and conditions set out in an attached draft employment agreement. The Employment Relations Authority suggested recently that signing a covering letter might not […]

Don’t let the 90 day trial period trip you up

Beware – this law is interpreted strictly and employers need to get it right! Since 1 April 2011, the 90-day trial period has been available to all employers regardless of the number of employees.  Employers now have the opportunity to hire new employees subject to a trial period of 90 days or less. In the event […]

Employee with valid trial period wins disadvantage claim

Ms Balmaceda was employed by Amphibian Swimming Academy Limited (the respondent) as a swimming instructor on 10 June 2013 until she was dismissed on 15 August 2013 pursuant to a 90 day trial provision in her employment agreement. Ms Balmaceda filed a personal grievance alleging unjustified action by the respondent which caused her disadvantage. The […]

Pre-employment work trials risky

Recently, in the decision of The Salad Bowl Ltd v Amberleigh Howe-Thornley [2013] NZEmpC 152, the Employment Court (Court) has scrutinised the practice of using pre-employment work trials.  We can take some valuable lessons from this case to limit employer’s risk of using pre-employment work trials in the future. A pre-employment work trial is very different […]

“Test run” of worker leads to trouble

Yet another 90 day trial period mistake The Employment Relations Act 2000 (the Act) makes provision for hiring employees on trial periods for up to 90 days. If the employee proves to be unsatisfactory, provided the requirements of the Act are met, the employee can be dismissed without following the normal performance management process. Despite […]

What to do if you’ve been dismissed

It’s an awful situation to find yourself in, but it actually happens more often than you may think.  Being sacked, fired, or instantly (summarily) dismissed without notice can be a huge shock to your system, and your finances!  Feeling bewildered and not knowing where to turn or what to do is common.  So, to give […]

More 90 day trial period controversy

There have recently been two pre-employment ‘trial’ trial period cases before the Authority, which seem to have had conflicting determinations made.  Yet again, more questions have been raised regarding the interpretation of the 90 day trial period legislation, section 67A of the Employment Relations Act 2000. The first case (Ahuja v Eden Mozaik), involved an […]