Our Blog

No Jab, No Job: Has the Employment Relations Authority put a stake in the ground?

A recent decision of the Employment Relations Authority (the Authority) made by Member Beck sitting in Christchurch, has attracted a significant amount of attention. The decision is GF v New Zealand Customs Service, 2021 NZERA 382.  Put shortly, the Authority decided that Customs could dismiss the employee (GF) because the employee declined to get vaccinated […]

Our Top 4 commonly asked questions from April 2020: Covid-19 and the “new normal”

When it comes to working and COVID-19, businesses have had to navigate the obstacles and new requirements that come with Alert Level 3. Over the past couple of weeks, we have been assisting and supporting clients manage their workplace and deal with the tough COVID-19 questions. We would like to share our top 4 commonly […]

COVID-19: Options for Employers Dealing with the Fallout

With COVID-19 changing the entire landscape for the global and local economy, it is not just the health impacts but the potential for damage to businesses and their ability to weather the storm that comes into sharp focus. When faced with the severe and unprecedented conditions – some businesses have lost over 85% of their […]

Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19

There has been a lot of news coverage and new information released about COVID-19 in the last couple of weeks. Here are some frequently asked questions that we have received from our clients. They may answer some questions you have as an employer or prompt you to get ahead of any potential questions that your employees […]

Employer obligations with the Coronavirus

With cases of the CONVID-19 virus having now been confirmed in New Zealand, and some travellers returning from overseas being urged to self-isolate, employers should be thinking about their strategies to address this threat, and/or any other future incidences like this, and their obligations as an employer. If a worker is off work because of […]

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 […]

Sexual harassment in the workplace

2018 has been the year for a global movement of people, in particular women standing up and telling their stories of sexual abuse and harassment. It began when the #MeToo campaign gained traction by celebrities sharing their own experiences of sexual misconduct in their chosen industry after Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein became known as a […]

Do you have a bullying or an anti-bullying policy? Let’s talk…

The new Health and Safety at Work (HSAW) Act 2015 makes it clear that employers’ are obligated to prevent bullying and harrasment in the workplace. WorkSafe NZ has also made new guidelines available online which highlights employers’ duty of care under the HSWA, and as such there is now a better understanding of bullying in […]

Training your workers for better health and safety

Should a WorkSafe NZ Inspector come onto your site for an inspection (or after a serious incident), one of their requests will be to see your documentation to verify the training you have provided to your workers.  Can you put your hand on heart and say it’s all up to date??? As a PCBU (person […]

PDA touring the country presenting ICB Health & Safety Workshops

Phil presented to 150 people from the Inter Church Bureau in Hamilton last week, followed by sessions in Tauranga and Rotorua.   They’ve been in Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin this week and are moving on to Nelson next.  During 2015 a group of our Associates (Fiona, Phil, Leah and Robyn) undertook a massive project to custom-design a Health and […]

Paul Diver Associates taking Health & Safety training nationwide

On 24 November, Leah, Fiona, Phil and Robyn presented the first test/pilot seminar on Health and Safety, designed specifically for the Inter Church Bureau by Paul Diver Associates.  All going well, next year our Associates will tour around the country facilitating numerous training sessions from Whangarei to Invercargill, spreading the word on health and safety. […]

Aluminium company to pay 48K after employee burnt at work

McKechnie Aluminium Solutions Limited has been fined $33,000 and ordered to pay $15,000 in reparation after an explosion caused serious burns to an employee’s foot, and superficial burns to his left hand, arm, chest and head.   The aluminium casting and manufacturing company was sentenced in the New Plymouth District Court today after pleading guilty […]

Hutt company fined after worker loses four fingers!

WorkSafe says guidance on how to make machinery safe is clear and easily accessible on its website.   Petone importer and manufacturer European Profile Company Limited has been fined $24,375 and ordered to pay reparation of $17,500 after a worker had four fingers amputated by a wood cutting machine while at work. European Profile Company […]

Health and Safety at Work Act

The new health and safety law comes into effect on 4 April 2016.   A final version of the Bill can be seen here.  In the meantime here are five things you can do now: Familiarise yourself with the key concepts of the legislation Review your health and safety practices Identify health and safety risks […]

Health and Safety Bill a major step forward

New law emphasises that everyone in the workplace is responsible for health and safety. Michael Woodhouse, 27 August 2015 Today’s passing of the Health and Safety Reform Bill marks a major step in addressing New Zealand’s unacceptable workplace death and injury toll, says Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse. “This is the first significant […]

Health and Safety Reforms Passed

On 27 August 2015, Parliament passed the health and safety reform legislation. Introduced on 10 March 2014, the Health and Safety Reform Bill reforms New Zealand’s workplace health and safety system. Its main purpose is to provide for a balanced framework to secure the health and safety system that has already resulted in the establishment […]

Health and Safety legislation delayed again

The Bill reforming health and safety law has been further delayed, with the Committee report back date rescheduled to 24 July 2015. Radio NZ reports that the delay is a result of disagreement within the National Party caucus over how far the changes should go, particularly for small businesses and farms. Source: www.parliament.nz

Hefty fines over forklift accident

Companies failed to put in place proper workplace rules to manage risk posed by forklifts to workers on foot.  19 August 2014 Three companies have been fined a total of almost $120,000 and ordered to pay combined reparation of $20,000 after a woman was struck by a reversing forklift at a kiwifruit pack house at […]

Q & A – Sick leave and ACC

Question: An employee has had a workplace accident. The employee has sick leave available. I understand they are entitled to be paid for the first week (or part thereof) to compensate them for lost earnings, at 80% of what they would have earned that week. Can an employee choose to receive sick leave rather than […]

Light-hearted health and safety video

With an important message for us all…  

Quad bike rider fined for not using helmet

14 May 2014 A Marlborough man has been fined $15,000 for not wearing a helmet while riding a quad bike at work – and for carrying a helmetless child as a passenger. It is believed to be the first time someone has been convicted for carrying a passenger on a work quad bike. Herd manager […]

Occupational health experts to advise WorkSafe NZ

An estimated 600-900 New Zealanders die prematurely each year due to work-related illness and disease 7 May 2014 A group of the country’s leading experts on occupational health have been assembled to advise WorkSafe New Zealand about how to help protect people from work-related illness and disease. An estimated 600-900 New Zealanders die prematurely each […]

A harsh reminder to take “all practicable steps”

Accidents and injuries that occur in the workplace are not only dangerous and distressful; they can result in very hefty fines.  Below is a collection of recent examples of how employers have failed to take “all practicable steps” to protect their employee’s from harm. “All practical steps” is defined under section 2A of the Health and […]

Workers fined over scaffolding accident

WorkSafe says this case is a reminder to all involved in construction of how much they rely on fellow workers to do things properly. 20 March 2014 Two workers have been ordered to pay a total of more than $22,000 in fines and reparations over a scaffolding accident in Dunedin last year which left a […]

WorkSafe NZ releases guidelines for managing bullying

WorkSafe NZ wants to help people deal proactively with the issue of workplace bullying themselves, and to promote healthy work cultures. Best practice guidelines on workplace bullying, released on 20 February 2014 by WorkSafe New Zealand, are a big step forward in support and guidance for businesses and individuals about what is a prevalent workplace […]

Riverlands Eltham fined for workplace injury

Investigation finds safety guard installed on day of injury was “too little too late”. 23 January 2014 Meat processor Riverlands Eltham Ltd has been fined $42,500 and ordered to pay reparations to a staff member of $12,500 following a workplace injury in which the staff member lost the end of his right index finger. The […]

Updated standards for medical certificates

On 30th October 2013, the Medical Council released its updated standards for doctors writing medical certificates. Employers are welcoming this update, which has come about from a recent period of review – including submissions from interested parties. The Medical Council chairperson, Dr John Adams says that the writing of medical certificates can be a complicated […]

Inspectors visiting farms to check on quad bike safety

Farms continue to have one of the highest levels of injury of any workplace in New Zealand, with an average of five quad bike-related deaths annually.  With the arrival of Spring and longer working hours, the chances of an accident on a quad bike rise significantly, and farmers, their families, and farm employees must keep […]

Major reform of workplace health and safety

Working Safer addresses the recommendations of the Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety. Simon Bridges, 7 August 2013 The most significant reform of New Zealand’s workplace health and safety system in 20 years has been announced today by Labour Minister Simon Bridges. “The Working Safer package represents a major step change in New Zealand’s […]

Forestry industry must improve safety commitment

MBIE about to begin a proactive assessment of logging contracting operations. 19 July 2013 The whole forestry industry has to step up its commitment to worker safety according to the Health and Safety Group of the Ministry. “The death this morning is the sixth this year — that is an awful toll and its effects […]

WorkSafe New Zealand moves to next stage

New board will oversee the establishment of WorkSafe New Zealand for its December start-up. Simon Bridges, 12 July 2013 Labour Minister Simon Bridges today announced the members of the Establishment Board of the planned new Crown agent, WorkSafe New Zealand. “This Board has the crucial job of overseeing the establishment of WorkSafe New Zealand for […]

New workplace health and safety system launched

New system charged with reducing serious harm and fatalities by 10% by 2016, 25% by 2020. Workplace health and safety in New Zealand is changing considerably to dramatically reduce serious harm and fatalities. On July 1 a new workplace health and safety system was launched by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Health and […]

Health and safety liability when hiring contractors

Last week, Labour Minister Simon Bridges launched guidelines for company directors on leading and managing health and safety in their workplaces.  These guidelines say directors should make workplace health and safety a business priority. We thought this would be a timely reminder to our clients about their health and safety obligations, especially with regards to the […]

Incentive for more small businesses to improve safety and save money

Businesses can receive a 10% reduction in their annual Work Levy. ACC has expanded its ‘Workplace Safety Discount Programme’, which offers levy discounts to businesses with demonstrated workplace health and safety experience and practices.  The programme is now open to all small to medium-sized businesses and self-employed people. Previously, it was aimed at those working […]

Implications for employees with variable hours of work

When an employee works variable hours, there are many implications an employer needs to take into consideration.  Some of the most common implications are summarised in the article below. Hours of work There is no legislation directly governing how many hours an employee may work per week. The Minimum Wage Act 1983 (section 11B) requires that […]

Q & A – Can a permanent employee work different hours each week?

Question: Is it legal for an employee under a individual employment agreement to work variable hours per week? For example, in the retail sector, an employee may work for 30 hours one week, 50 hours in the following week, 20 hours in the third week, 60 hours in the fourth week and so on. Although the […]