The First ‘Availability’ Case – Fraser v Mc Donald’s Restaurants (New Zealand) Limited

This is the first case in which section 67D of the Employment Relations Act (regarding availability provisions) has been considered by the Employment Court. The case concerned two Mc Donald’s employees who sought a declaration that their individual employment agreements contained an availability clause in terms of the new provisions in the Act, and that…

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…

Employees to have paid time off work to vote

Section 162 of the Electoral Act 1993 provides that employers are required to allow all their employees who are electors and who have not had a reasonable opportunity to vote on Election Day before starting work, to leave their work for the purpose of voting, no later than 3pm for the remainder of the day. An…

$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…

We’re hiring!

We’re in expansion mode and are looking for Senior Associate – Collective Bargaining Expert to join our team.  The role involves collective bargaining, employment relations conflict resolution (including facilitating mediations), undertaking employment investigations, and representing our clients at Employment Institutions. Applications will close once we find the right person so get in quick!  Apply via…

Changes to parental leave payments take effect from 1 June

There are two main changes to parental leave payments that have taken effect as of 1 June 2017: One change means employees who want to receive parental leave payments can now use their paid leave (eg annual leave, alternative days, special leave or time off in lieu) first. In that situation their parental leave payment…

$2 billion pay equity settlement bill passes into law

The bill to implement a historic pay equity settlement for 55,000 of the health sector’s lowest paid workers passed into law on the 8th June, with unanimous support from across the House. The Care and Support Worker (Pay Equity) Settlement Bill was fast-tracked through Parliament to ensure providers of aged and disability residential care, and…

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…

Farewell to Sarah Sherwin

Sarah Sherwin leaves Paul Diver Associates this week to have her second child. Sarah has been a valued member of our team for the past six years. We wish her all the best for her parental leave and hope to work with her again when the time is right.

Welcoming Lynn Booker

Paul Diver Associates is pleased to introduce Lynn Booker as our new Conflict Resolution and Investigations Expert. Many of you will know Lynn from her many years as an employment mediator with MBIE or perhaps even from her time with the Labour Inspectorate. Lynn is well known for her outstanding knowledge, experience and skill in…

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…

New employment standards provisions now in force

New employment standards legislation was introduced last year to give greater protection to employees on “zero-hour” contracts, with no guarenteed hours of work.  However, the changes have wider-reaching implications and in one way or another have an impact on almost all employment agreements, particularly regarding: Hours of work clauses and availability provisions Cancellation of shifts…

$2 billion pay equity settlement for 55,000 health care workers

On 18th April 2017, Health Minister Jonathan Coleman announced that some of the health sector’s lowest paid workers will share in a $2 billion pay equity settlement over five years. The wage boost follows the TerraNova pay equity claim brought by E tū (previously the Service and Food Workers Union) on behalf of care worker…

Minimum Wage Increases 50 cents per hour on 1 April 2017

As of 1 April 2017 the new minimum wage rates are: Adult — $15.75 an hour Starting-out — $12.60 an hour (up from $12.20) Training — $12.60 an hour (up from $12.20) Starting-out and training minimum wages are 80% of the adult minimum wage. What you’ll need to do: You and your staff can agree…

Deductions from pay – employers must consult first!

The Wages Protection Amendment Act 2016 has added the statutory requirement to consult before making deductions from employees’ wages. In accordance with the Wages Protection Act 1983, an employer may make deductions from wages payable to an employee for any lawful purpose with the employee’s written consent.  Written consent includes consent in a general deductions…

Positive step forward for pay equity

State Services Minister Paula Bennett has welcomed an agreement with unions which will see the Government’s new pay equity principles applied for the first time. In November 2016, the Government announced it had accepted the recommendations of the Joint Working Group on Pay Equity. The Principles were developed by the Joint Working Group on Pay…

Clampdown on rogue employers who are breaching employment standards

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse has announced new measures to stop employers who breach immigration and employment law from recruiting migrant workers. “Migrant workers make a valuable contribution to our workforce and have the same rights as any other worker,” Mr Woodhouse says. “It is simply unacceptable that those employers who exploit migrant workers are still…

Office hours over the holiday season

canstockphoto6394768-xmas-treeOur office will be closed from Friday 23rd December and reopens 16th January.  However, there will be people on call so if you need anything urgent over this period please contact:

  • Anna Jones from Friday 23rd December on 021 485 120
  • Laurene Holley from Wednesday 4th January on 027 457 8469
  • Paul Diver from Monday 9th January on 021 958 215

We wish you all a peaceful and relaxing Christmas doing what you love most, and a successful and prosperous 2017.  We look forward to reconnecting with all our clients in the New Year.

Calculating annual holiday pay

We’ve had a lot of questions lately about the calculation of annual holiday pay, whether to use ordinary weekly pay or average weekly earnings, and what should be included in the calculations. If an employee takes an annual holiday after the employee’s entitlement to the holiday has arisen, the employer must calculate the employee’s annual…

Public Holidays over Christmas and New Year 2016/2017

This year the recognised Public Holidays over the Christmas and New Year period are as follows: Sunday 25th December 2015 – Christmas Day (observed on Tuesday 27th) Monday 26th December – Boxing Day Sunday 1st January 2016 – New Year’s Day (observed on Tuesday 3rd) Monday 2nd January – the day after New Year’s Day…

Annual Closedowns

With Christmas only a few weeks away, we thought we’d do a brief reminder about Closedown Periods that often occur during this festive time. A Closedown Period means “a period during which the Employer customarily closes the Employer’s operations or discontinues the work of one or more Employees and requires his or her Employees to take…

Charging an individual for complying with elaborate Privacy Act requests

When employment relationships start to go pear shaped, employers are often faced with very generalised Privacy Act requests, which can be difficult and time consuming to comply with.  We refer to such requests as a ‘fishing expedition’, whereby an individual makes a formal information privacy request for all information about themselves pursuant to Principle 6…

Govt accepts recommendations on pay equity

Pay equity claims to be resolved via a bargaining process. The Government will update the Equal Pay Act and amend the Employment Relations Act to implement recommendations of the Joint Working Group on Pay Equity. This will make it easier for women to file pay equity claims with their employers, rather than having to go…

Could your volunteer actually be an employee?

If you thought working for food or accommodation was volunteering, think again. By law, anyone working in return for food and accommodation is an employee in accordance with section 6 of the Employment Relations Act 2000. Under the Act, anyone who works for “hire or reward”, eg food and accommodation, is an employee in terms…

Easter trading: New rules for you and staff

If you’re a shop owner, new rules from Easter 2017 mean your council may let you open on Easter Sunday. However, you can’t make your employees work that day. This law change addresses growing demand from the public and retailers to open for business on Easter Sunday. Currently, the law restricts most — but not…

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…

Paid parental leave increases

From 1 July 2016 the maximum rate of paid parental leave for eligible employees and self-employed parents increased. Employees’ weekly parental leave payments will now equal the greater of: ordinary weekly pay, or average weekly income up to the maximum weekly amount of $527.72 gross (gross means before any deductions eg income tax) per week.  Previously the…

Is pursuing a claim under the Human Rights Act really more lucrative?

A perception has developed among litigants and practitioners that pursuing a claim under the Human Rights Act has the potential to be more lucrative than under the Employment Relations Act (when the nature of the claim is such that it could be pursued either way). The question is, does this perception have any merit? It…

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…

Law change for Easter Sunday shop trading

The Shop Trading Hours Act 1990 is being amended to enable territorial authorities to decide whether retailers in their districts can open on Easter Sunday. Key changes to the law Territorial authorities will have the ability to create local policies to allow shop trading across their entire district or in limited areas on Easter Sunday…

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…

Privacy Case: Man seeks information from application process

The Privacy Act gives people the right to see personal information that agencies hold about them. While this might appear straightforward, there are a number of circumstances where people and agencies disagree about what personal information the agency needs to disclose and what it can withhold. This was exemplified in a recent complaint to the…

Privacy Case: Man objects to pre-employment urine test process

The process of collecting health information can affect both privacy and personal dignity. This is what spurred a man to complain to our office after he was asked for a urine test by his prospective employer. The man had applied for a job that required employees to pass a drug test. The company outsourced its…

Privacy case note – Deletion of personal information in employment dispute

Background An employer refused to hand over certain information to an employee who contested a job performance evaluation. The woman was investigated by her employer about her job performance. The performance concerns included the woman having failed a certified training programme several times. After the investigation, the woman was demoted in her job. She said…

Trevor-Roberts partnered with Alan Brookbanks

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.03.09 AMTrevor-Roberts has announced that they are now partnered with Alan Brookbanks of Changing Tack (NZ) Ltd to offer specialist executive services throughout New Zealand.

Their relationship with Alan has been fostered over many years from his days as GM/HR for Queensland Rail’s Network Services business. CEO Dr Edwin Trevor said “we are very pleased to be partnered with Alan”.  “We have a number of trans-Tasman businesses we already work with and we can now offer them the same services in New Zealand.”

Alan is a highly respected professional, and the team at Paul Diver Associates can’t recommend him enough!

Connect with Alan Brookbanks on LinkedIn.

What is a disadvantage grievance?

An employee may bring a personal grievance for disadvantage if, “the employee’s employment, or one or more conditions thereof, is or are affected to the employee’s disadvantage by some unjustifiable action by the employer”. (Section 103 (1)(b) of the Employment Relations Act 2000). We have found that personal grievances for disadvantage can be a bit of…

New Record Keeping Requirements

The introduction of the new Employment Standards Legislation from 1 April 2016 places greater emphasis on the requirement for employers to keep clearer records for pay, time, leave and public holidays. The purpose of these changes are to make it easier to assess if employees are receiving their minimum entitlements as set out in legislation.…

Employee v Contractor – MBIE provides a handy tool

Employees and contractors have different rights and obligations under the employment legislation.  It is common that the distinction between an employee and contractor gets confused. The Labour Inspectorate, part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has released a new guide for workers and employers that summarises the difference between employees and independent…

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…

Pay equity task force return delayed

A task force established to devise principles for dealing with pay equity claims has delayed its return. The task force, consisting of unions and employers, was previously expected to report back at the end of March.  It will now report back by the end of April.  We will update you when we hear more.

PDA touring the country presenting ICB Health & Safety Workshops

Phil presenting 300316

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 Safety seminar, workbook and resources toolkit for the Inter Church Bureau, to provide vital information of the changes resulting from the new Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.  Late last year the team presented a pilot seminar which was very well received, and they got the go ahead to take the workshop nationwide.

They are now mid-way through the roll out and are touring around the country facilitating numerous training sessions from Whangarei to Invercargill.  The seminars will focus on critical points for health and safety around the church and the different options they provide for their communities. The seminars are due to be completed by the end of April, after which all participants will receive their workbooks and toolkits.

With the new Health and Safety at Work Act 2015  just coming into force (4 April 2016), it’s the perfect time to take a good, hard look at health and safety in your organisation.  Don’t forget to contact us if you need assistance getting your health and safety up to scratch!

Changes to Employment Mediation Services

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is making changes to its Employment Mediation Services to ensure they’re organised and resourced to: continue to provide high quality mediations be flexible to meet demand and customer needs, and be responsibly cost effective These decisions follow a two-month consultation process on a change proposal put out on…

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…

The ‘Terranova Approach’: Has New Zealand Entered an Unchartered Domain?

Extending Equal Pay to Pay Equity? Dating back to the pre-industrial era, women in New Zealand have been paid less than men. Over time, discrimination against women in the workplace has been recognised, and legislation has been developed to prevent it. New Zealand’s labour and human rights laws prohibit discrimination in pay or employment opportunity,…

Easter holidays 2016

Easter Public Holidays The actual days which are classified as public holidays under the Holidays Act 2003 during Easter this year are: Good Friday – 25 March Easter Monday – 28 March (not Sunday!) Many people get Easter Sunday confused and think that this day is also a public holiday – this is not correct.…

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…

Christmas and New Year – Public Holidays 2015/2016

This year the recognised Public Holidays over the Christmas and New Year period are as follows: Friday 25th December 2015 – Christmas Day Saturday 26th December – Boxing Day (observed on Monday 28th December) Friday 1st January 2016 – New Year’s Day Saturday 2nd January – the day after New Year’s Day (observed on Monday 4th January) Public Holidays…

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…

Paul Diver Associates taking Health & Safety training nationwide

LeahOn 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.  The seminars will focus on critical points for health and safety around the Church and the different options they provide for their communities.

With the new Health and Safety at Work Act 2015  in force from 4 April 2016, it’s the perfect time to take a good, hard look at health and safety in your organisation.  Don’t forget to contact us if you need assistance getting your health and safety up to scratch!

Working group to pursue pay equity principles for workplaces

Paula Bennett, Michael Woodhouse 20 OCTOBER 2015 Employers and unions have agreed to a Government proposal to set up a Joint Working Group to develop principles for dealing with claims of pay equity under the Equal Pay Act. Minister of State Services Paula Bennett and Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety Michael Woodhouse say the…

How to develop a proposal for change…

Redundancy is generally considered to be a situation where an employee’s position is surplus to the employer’s commercial needs. Employers must be able to justify redundancies substantively (show that they are genuine) and procedurally (that a fair procedure was followed). An employer who fails to carry out a proper restructure process will be potentially liable…

Tougher sanctions for breach of minimum employment standards

The Government has introduced the Employment Standards Legislation Bill. In essence, this is to provide harsher sanctions for exploitative employment practices involving breach of statutory minima relating to wages and holidays. Greater investigative powers for Labour Inspectors and employment institutions will assist in bringing perpetrators to account. At present, the maximum fine is $10,000 for…

Human Rights Commission welcomes pay equity milestone

October 21, 2015 The Human Rights Commission has welcomed plans to set up a working group to develop agreed principles on pay equity for all sectors of the economy. Employers and unions agreed this week to a Government proposal to set up a Joint Working Group to develop principles to deal with pay equity claims…

Compensation for hurt and humiliation: some pointers from the Court

The Employment Court gave some useful pointers on how it arrives at awards of compensation for hurt and humiliation in the context of a case of an employee whose short-lived employment of about three weeks ended with two days of “stressful and traumatic” circumstances. On the first of these two days, he was dismissed after…

Recent Case: Failure to accommodate Sabbath practice discriminatory

A business that failed to accommodate an employee’s requests not to work Saturdays following his return to the practices of the Seventh Day Adventist Church was found to be in breach of the Human Rights Act by the Human Rights Review Tribunal. Central to that decision was the Tribunal’s choice of comparator when determining whether…

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…

What is Bullying and Harassment?

Sexual and racial harassment are behaviours defined by the Employment Relations Act (“the Act”) under sections 108 and 109. Both definitions require that the harassing behaviour is unwelcome or offensive, and that, either by its nature or through repetition, has a detrimental effect on the employee’s employment, job performance, or job satisfaction. General harassment and bullying is undefined by the…

The Employment Standards Legislation 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 changes will: Extend paid parental leave to more workers and increase the flexibility of the scheme Strengthen enforcement of employment standards Address issues such as…

Health and safety: Who’ll do what in your business?

25 August 2015 – An update on coming changes to health and safety law from the MBIE. New laws are expected to come into effect in April 2016, to be confirmed once the Health and Safety at Work Act is passed. But who’ll be responsible for what in your business? Last month we set out the key…

Equal pay case still in the pipeline

After the Employment Court and the Court of Appeal found that the Equal Pay Act is not limited to ensuring simply that men and women performing the same task in the same workplace are paid the same amount, the task of the principles to be observed in implementing equal pay in a broader context fell…

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…

Lyttelton Port Company ordered to pay $138,000 over worker’s death

WorkSafe investigation finds multiple failures by Port Company contributed to death. 6 August 15 The family of port worker Bradley Fletcher will receive $75,000 in court-ordered reparation from the Lyttelton Port Company, which has today also been fined $63,000 over his death. Mr Fletcher was killed in August 2014 after the scissor lift he was…

What is appropriate disciplinary action?

This is one of the most difficult aspects of a disciplinary process, and is the part that is most closely scrutinised by the Authority or the Court.  In order for any disciplinary action to be justifiable in terms of the Employment Relations Act 2000, the outcome needs to be considered consistent with “what a fair and reasonable employer…

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…

Recent Case – Principles governing cost awards restated

The Employment Court recently made two clear statements about costs awards: A successful party to litigation may claim a contribution to its costs in seeking costs. The ability of a successful party to recover GST should be taken into account. The Employment Court said that although it was relatively rare for parties to seek costs on costs…

Getting the Disciplinary Process Right

We’re doing the hard work for you!  Prior to commencing a disciplinary process with an employee, there are many steps the employer needs to take in order to initiate a thorough and fair disciplinary process.  Getting the prep work wrong can be fatal to the process so we’ve put together a checklist for you to…

Employers reminded not to confuse part-time and casual workers

10 June 2015 The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) reminded employers today that part time employees who work regular rostered hours are entitled to pro-rated holidays and leave. The Ministry’s Labour Inspectorate regularly sees cases where people working part time are not getting their legal entitlements because the employer assumes they can just…

What is a Calderbank?

Without prejudice save as to costs offers are commonly referred to as “Calderbank” offers. A major factor in deciding whether to bring a personal grievance will be the potential costs faced. Even if an employee succeeds, costs awarded are unlikely to cover the actual costs incurred. Further, the employer will also incur significant costs in…

The Privacy Commission to get tougher on privacy breaches

In a recent decision the Human Rights Review Tribunal ordered telecommunications company, Orcon, to pay $25,000 in damages. This case sends a strong reminder to agencies to check the accuracy of personal information before using it. The Applicant, Mr Taylor, had a dispute with Orcon over a bill. Before the dispute was resolved, Orcon sent…

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

What everyone needs to know about performance management

For organisations to achieve their goals, they must manage people and performance effectively.   Performance management brings together the organisation’s goals and strategies, its human resources policies and practices, and all the elements of good people management and employee communication — integrating them into an organisation-wide process for planning, managing, reviewing, rewarding and developing people…

ANZAC Day – The first time for “Mondayisation”

With ANZAC Day falling on a Saturday this year,  the new Holidays (Full Recognition of Waitangi Day and ANZAC Day) Amendment Act or, as it is more commonly known, the ‘Mondayisation Bill’, will have its first big impact. The ‘Mondayisation Bill’ means that when Waitangi Day (6 February) or ANZAC Day (25 April) now fall on a…

Move to increase remedies for personal grievances

A recent case has given ammunition to those seeking more realistic compensatory awards in the employment institutions. Until now, compensatory awards for hurt and humiliation for employees bringing successful personal grievances have commonly been between $5,000 and $7,000. Costs awards are normally far lower than the actual costs incurred, so the likelihood is that the…

Taking a privacy case to the Human Rights Review Tribunal

The Privacy Commissioner’s office have produced a guidance note explaining what types of cases the Human Rights Review Tribunal (HRRT) can hear under the Privacy Act.  Before you can take a case to the HRRT, the Privacy Commissioner’s office must have investigated the aspects of your complaint that you want the Tribunal to consider.  Click here…

Cashing up of Annual Leave

The Holidays Act 2003 provides that on one or more separate occasions an employee can request that his or her employer pay out a portion of the employee’s annual leave entitlement. There are conditions and restrictions to this cashing up provision (sections 28A-F), the main ones of which are outlined below: An employee can only…

$98k compensation for breach of privacy – all over a cake!

The Human Rights Review Tribunal has found Credit Union Baywide, trading as NZCU Baywide, interfered with the privacy of a former employee by distributing a Facebook screenshot to Hawke’s Bay employment agencies with a warning against employing her. In Hammond v Credit Union Baywide [2015] NZHRRT 6 (2 March 2015), the tribunal awarded $98,000 compensation…

Forfeiture clause ineffective

A clause in an employment agreement that provided a commonly used clause did not entitle an employer to deduct four weeks pay from an employee’s pay when the employee left without giving the requisite notice.  The clause stated: “four weeks pay shall be paid or forfeited by the party not giving the requisite notice” The Employment Relations…

Judge reiterates her doubt over damages claims in dismissal situations

Judge Inglis has repeated her reservations about the “double-whammy” effect of dismissal and a damages claim, both arising out of the same poor performance during the employment relationship. She considers that it “sits uncomfortably with the statutory mechanisms for resolving employment relationship issues and may well have a chilling effect on employees considering a personal…

Understanding and applying the “30 day rule”

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. We have developed some Q&A’s that will hopefully help determine whether a new employee should be covered by an individual employment agreement…

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…

Compliance order made to compensate for effects of unlawful preference

The Employment Court agreed with the Authority in penalising the misleading and deceptive actions of a charitable trust that misled the unions it was bargaining with so that they believed government funding constrained it from agreeing to a greater increase in wages. It also agreed that the trust had conferred an unlawful preference upon non-union…

Recent privacy complaint upheld

20 February 2015 The Privacy Act 1993 is based around 12 “information privacy principles”.  The privacy principles impact on an employment relationship from recruitment through to termination and employers must bear them in mind. The privacy principles cover the collection, storage, use, retention, access to and disclosure of personal information by an agency.  Personal information…

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…

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…

Expired warning used to justify dismissal

The Employment Relations Authority said an expired final written warning was part of the circumstances that an employer was entitled to take into account when considering an appropriate sanction under the justification test in section 103A of the Employment Relations Act 2000, and that equally a fair and reasonable employer could be expected to have considered…

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…