Our Blog

Employers to pay for pre-work meetings

Unions representing retail workers are receiving numerous complaints from employees around the country after a recent Employment Court case has ensured that employers can no longer plead ignorance to avoid paying employees for participating in work related activities outside of work hours [1].   Smiths City Group Ltd has been ordered to comply with an Improvement […]

Personal grievances costly to defend

The EMA has released its annual analysis of personal grievance cases heard at the Employment Relations Authority, and again it was a sorry story for employers with employees’ winning 72% of cases. The average national award for hurt and humiliation has increased to just over $7,000 compared to $6,334 in the previous year.  Hurt and […]

What’s mediation all about?

When an employment dispute or personal grievance arises it can be very stressful for everyone involved. With work being a big part of most people’s lives, it’s understandable that when there’s an employment relationship problem in the workplace, it is important that they are dealt with efficiently, respectfully, and in a way that creates the […]

Draft Employment (Pay Equity and Equal Pay) Bill

On 18 April 2017 the Government reached a settlement with the unions in the long running caregiver pay equity case. This settlement impacts on 55,000 workers in the Aged Care Sector, who from 1 July 2017 will receive a pay increase of between 15 and 50 per cent, depending on their qualifications and/or service. This […]

Employment Relations Authority determines “on-call” as being “work”

In Sanderson v South Canterbury District Health Board [2017] NZERA Christchurch 37, the Employment Relations Authority has determined that being “on-call” constitutes “work”, which means the Minimum Wage Act will apply.  As such, these employees must be paid at a rate no less than the minimum wage for every hour that they are on-call. This […]

Daily tariff increases for the Employment Relations Authority

The Employment Relations Authority has issued a practice note regarding its calculation of costs awards. Parties to proceedings in the Authority ought always to remember in evaluating their proceedings that if they are unsuccessful, they will almost always face the prospect of having to make a contribution to the costs of the successful party, as […]

Major Decision: Authority’s non-publication order was challengeable … and plaintiff entitled to one

The barrier to challenging Authority determinations on procedure (section 179(5) of the Employment Relations Act 2000) continues to present problems. Notwithstanding the Act’s objective of allowing the Authority a clear run in its investigations unimpeded by challenges, there is no avoiding the fact that “procedural” is not synonymous with “minor” or “technical”.  Nowhere is this […]

MAJOR DECISION: Christmas holidays can be excluded from 28-day period for challenging an ERA determination

The likelihood for confusion to occur over when the 28 days for filing a challenge to an Employment Relations Authority determination expires has been much reduced by a recent decision of the Employment Court. In making its decision, the Court refused to follow the earlier decision of the Court in Vice-Chancellor of Lincoln University v […]

Recent case: Facebook pages admissible as evidence

An employer who wanted to contest the truthfulness of an employee’s stated reason for taking sick leave successfully applied to the Employment Relations Authority for permission to put the employee’s Facebook pages recording the employee’s activities on the relevant dates into evidence. The Authority concluded that the evidence (although not available at the time the […]

What is the Employment Relations Authority?

The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) is a more formal step to resolving an employment dispute or personal grievance if mediation doesn’t work. The ERA is an independent body set up to investigate workplace disputes. 

Both employers and employees can lodge an application in the ERA, the filing fee currently costs $71.56. Once an application has […]

I need some employment help!

If you are having a dispute with your employer/employee you should first try and discuss it with them. This isn’t always easy but it is a necessary step towards solving any dispute. If you can’t resolve the problem with your employer/employee then you have a few other options available: If you are an employee and […]

Recent case: Agent’s failure to raise grievance is an “exceptional circumstance”

When an employee does not raise an alleged personal grievance within the statutory 90-day period, the employee can make an application to the Employment Relations Authority seeking leave to raise the personal grievance out of time: section 114(3), Employment Relations Act 2000. The Authority may grant leave if: it is satisfied that the delay was occasioned […]

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 […]

Verbal settlement agreement enforceable

From time to time we come across a situation where one party to a settlement agreement fails to sign the agreement in writing, and/or tries to change the terms after an agreement has been reached.  When this happens, we’re often asked whether or not the verbal agreement is binding and enforceable.  Well in the case […]