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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 employer obligations towards domestic violence victims

3 August 2018: New Zealand has become the first country in the world to create new entitlements for domestic violence victims in their workplace, including a right to take up to 10 days of paid leave per year. On Wednesday the 25 July 2018, the Domestic Violence – Victims’ Protection Bill spearheaded by Green MP Jan Logie […]

Employment protection proposed for domestic violence victims

22 June 2018:The Domestic Violence – Victim’s Protection Bill has passed its second reading in Parliament. The purpose of the Bill is to increase employment protection for victims of domestic violence in the workplace by reducing any existing barriers that may prevent them from having stable employment. What is this Bill about? The Bill seeks […]

Penalties for Employers Breaching Minimum Standards are more serious than ever

With tougher sanctions and penalties of up to $20,000 for each breach imposed on business owners, employers need to be confident they are meeting their minimum statutory obligations. In 2017 we have seen significant sanctions on employers and it seems every week the newspapers name and shame employers who have breached minimum standards. Penalties can […]

Troubles with triangular employment relationships

Another Bill has been recently introduced to Parliament intending to amend the Employment Relations Act.  The latest Amendment Bill focuses on triangular employment relationships, and seeks to ensure that employees employed by one employer, but working under the control and direction of another business or organisation, are not deprived of the right to coverage of […]

Employment Relations Amendment Bill 2018

On 25th January 2018, the Government announced a new Bill to legislate for fairer workplaces.  The Bill is designed to provide greater protections to workers, especially vulnerable workers, and strengthen the role of collective bargaining in the workplace to ensure fair wages and conditions. To quote Hon Iain Lees-Galloway, “many of the changes in the […]

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 […]

$57,000 fine for breach of minimum employment standards

This case highlights the heavy consequences and financial implications of knowingly breaching minimum employment standards. BBS is a horticultural company which contracts services to horticultural growers, particularly asparagus producers in the Waikato.  Upon a Labour Inspector visit in 2013, it was discovered the employees were not provided with individual employment agreements, there were no time […]

Strengthening enforcement of employment standards

Employment standards are requirements such as the minimum wage, annual holidays and written employment agreements. They protect vulnerable workers and help to ensure workplaces are fair and competitive. As a result of the  Employment Standards Legislation Bill, new measures have come into force as at 1 April 2016.  Various statutes that govern the employment relationship have now been […]

Employment Standards Legislation Bill – Passed third reading

The Employment Standards Legislation Bill has passed third reading in parliament and will come into force 1 April 2016. This Bill has been further amended divided off into the following separate Bills: Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Bill comprising clauses 1 and 2, Part 1, and Schedules 1 and 2 Employment Relations Amendment Bill […]

Zero-Hour Contracts

The Government wants to prevent unfair employment practices, and have now (from 1 April 2016) legislated against the use of Zero-hour contracts under the Employment Relations Amendment Act 2016. The essence of employment arrangements of this kind is that the worker is offered work as and when the employer or work-user wishes without the guarantee […]

Employment Standards Bill

The Employment Standards Legislation Bill proposes to amend the New Zealand employment law to ensure it responds to the modern, dynamic business environment and encourages fair and productive workplaces. The key changes include: Extending paid parental leave to more workers and increase the flexibility of the scheme Strengthen enforcement of minimum employment standards Address issues […]

Age discrimination case raises conflict of laws issues

Two pilots, living in New Zealand but flying mostly abroad (Hong Kong and Australia) for Cathay Pacific, were successful in their case that their mandatory retirement at 55 years was in breach of New Zealand’s age discrimination laws.   Relying on a UK case concerning other pilots employed by Cathay, the Court concluded that the […]

Hastings businesses penalised for failure to provide records

ERA regarded failures as serious breach of employers’ duties to abide by relevant employment and holiday legislation and ordered each business to pay $7,500 in penalties to the Crown. The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) has ordered three Hawke’s Bay horticulture contractor businesses to pay a total of $22,500 in penalties for failure to provide employment […]

Employment Court considers issues relating to contributory conduct

The Employment Court has considered — but not resolved — two interesting and important issues relating to the effect on remedies of blameworthy conduct 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 […]

Employment Agreements for New Hires

With the recent amendments to the Employment Relations Act 2000 removing the “30-day rule” from 6 March 2015, there may be some confusion as to what employment agreement employers should be offering new employees. The answers to the questions below should help determine whether a new employee should be covered by an individual agreement or […]

Employment Relations Amendment Bill passes third reading

Michael Woodhouse Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Michael Woodhouse has welcomed the passage of the Employment Relations Amendment Bill through Parliament. “The Government campaigned on our commitment to continue to improve employment law, particularly in relation to fairness, flexibility and choice in the labour market,” Mr Woodhouse says. “The passing of this Bill delivers […]

Parallel Disciplinary Investigations

At times, we come across employee’s representatives who wish to conduct their own investigation into a misconduct matter, in parallel with the employer’s investigation.  This is in an attempt to assist the employee to adequately respond to allegations made against them.  Often, this may include the request to interview other employees and potentially customers, and […]

RESTRUCTURING, CONSULTATION AND GOOD FAITH

Employment Protection Provision In accordance with Section 69OI(1) of the Employment Relations Act 2000 (the “Act”), an employee protection provision means a provision— (a) the purpose of which is to provide protection for the employment of employees affected by a restructuring;     and (b) that includes— (i) a process that the employer must follow in negotiating with […]

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 […]

Employment Relations (Statutory Minimum Redundancy Entitlements) Amendment Bill 2012

This Member’s Bill amends the Employment Relations Act 2000, to insert a new Part 6E to provide the following minimum statutory entitlements for employees in the event of dismissal for redundancy: (a)    notice of dismissal of no less than 4 weeks; and (b)    compensation for redundancy in the amount of 4 weeks’ remuneration for the […]

Right to rest break does not give employee the right to leave premises

An employee who, while she was on duty as bar manager, left the premises for only a few minutes to attend to personal matters was dismissed justifiably for serious misconduct. The employee’s employment agreement provided that serious misconduct included a failure to comply with liquor licensing laws, and the law required that when liquor was […]

Employee’s Right to Wage & Time Records

The Employment Relations Act 2000 and the Minimum Wage Act 1983 require employers to keep records of time worked and wages paid for that time. Accordingly, employers should set up a system as required by the Acts. Note that it is an offence to fail to keep a wage and time record. In Service and […]

Fact that cleaning was (possibly) a component of work did not put council employees in the “vulnerable” category

The Employment Court has decided that five categories of council worker working in public parks did not provide cleaning services, a finding that deprived employees belonging to those categories of the right-to-transfer protections accorded to so-called “vulnerable” employees. None of the categories of park worker included the name “cleaner”. It was argued, however, that all […]

Improving flexibility in collective bargaining

Some of the current rules around collective bargaining limit choice, flexibility and the effectiveness of the bargaining process.  The Government has announced that they intend to make a number of improvements to the Employment Relations Act this term to help provide a fair and flexible environment, including: Remove the requirement to conclude collective bargaining Remove […]