Obligations for new staff
Advertising a position, interviewing candidates, and selecting the right person for the job can take time, but before your new employee starts work there are a few requirements that you must meet.
It’s tempting to get your employee started straight away – but you do need to take the time to complete paperwork, set up a new personal file and provide a detailed induction.
This article shows you how to fulfil some mandatory obligations such as registering as an employer, creating an employment agreement, and fulfilling health and safety requirements.
On this page:
- Required paperwork for your employee’s first day
- Your employee’s personal file
Good employment relationships begin with a good recruitment process. The appointment process should end with information and systems that establish the employee’s role, the expectations the manager has, and the employee’s rights.
By the time that your new employee is ready to start work, you must have:
- A written employment agreement signed by your new employee. There are certain mandatory clauses that need to be included in all employment agreements regardless of industry or hours worked. To help you out, the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment – Labour has developed an online Employment Agreement Builder tool that can be used free-of-charge.
- Assurance that the person is entitled to work in New Zealand. If you’re unsure whether your new employee is entitled to work in New Zealand, you can use VisaView – a service of the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment – Labour – to check online.
- A letter offering employment. This is generally a basic letter that outlines that the candidate’s application is successful and details a reasonable time frame for the candidate to respond if they accept the offer. The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment – Labour offers some sample letters you can use as a reference.
- Registered as an employer with Inland Revenue (if applicable). All employers must register as an employer with Inland Revenue and deduct PAYE (pay as you earn) at the rate indicated in the IR340 or IR341. Inland Revenue makes it easy to register as an employer online.
It’s also good practice to have:
- A detailed job description. Remember to include the key responsibilities of the role and a list of applicable stakeholders that the role reports to.
- The employee’s completed application, CV and covering letter. These could be useful in the future to include as part of your employee’s individual file.
Keeping accurate records is crucial to any business. In addition to filing day-to-day business records like receipts and invoices, you’ll need to update employee files, leave balances and holiday entitlements. Like any other records, employee records should be kept secure – preferably backed up on a hard drive or cloud network to safeguard against disasters or data loss.
Wages and time records include:
- the employee’s name
- the employee’s age, if under 20 years
- the employee’s postal address
- the type of work the employee undertakes
- the type of employment agreement – individual or collective
- the wages paid each pay period
- the hours worked each day, if necessary for the purposes of calculating the pay
Holiday and leave records include:
- the name of the employee
- the date employment commenced
- the days on which an employee works, if the information is relevant to entitlement or payment under the Holidays Act (2003)
- the date the employee last became entitled to annual holidays
- the employee’s current entitlement to annual holidays
- the employee’s current entitlement to sick leave
- the dates any annual holiday, sick or bereavement leave was taken
- the amount of pay for holidays on termination.
An employee’s file should also include:
- a signed copy of the employment agreement with the employee or details of the collective agreement under which he or she has been employed
- a letter offering appointment
- evidence that the employee is entitled to work in New Zealand
- details of citizenship or work permits held
- a tax code declaration (IR330) completed by the employee
- a job description
- a personal profile
- an application form
- the employee’s personal information such as home contact details
- details of who to contact in case of an emergency
- details of the bank account to be credited with wages (if this is the agreed method of payment)
Employers should also keep copies of any requests regarding alternative holidays or requests to cash-up annual holidays even if they were not agreed to.
A good induction process will help new employees settle in quickly and feel like part of the business. They will appreciate the support and your business will benefit. First impressions last, so make the first days on the job a positive experience.
What you must do:
- Provide a full health and safety briefing to new staff showing them your evacuation plan, any hazards in the workplace and how to be safe from hazards.
- Provide any safety or other equipment required for the job and train them in how to use it correctly.
- Let them know who to contact in case of absence or emergency. Give them a copy of the contact details to keep at home.
- Clarify start times, finish times and the duration of breaks.
- Discuss any in-house policies and rules that apply to them or their job. Give them a written copy of those work rules or policies.
- Get your new employee to complete a tax code declaration (IR330).
- If this is your first employee, you need to register as an employer with Inland Revenue. They will also advise ACC that you have become an employer.
- Set up a personal file for your new employee including a holiday and leave record, and wage and time record.
Give new employees the training and resources they need for the job. They will be more productive when they have the right skills, know what they are supposed to do and how their role affects the business as a whole.
What you must do:
- Ensure the employee has the necessary knowledge and experience to do the job without causing harm to themselves or other people. If they do not have enough experience, have them supervised by an experienced person.
- Explain any hazards or risks that might occur when performing the task, and what to do if those risks occur.
- Provide any safety or other equipment required for the job and train the employee in how to use it correctly. Even if they have used the equipment before, you need to check that they are using it properly. See the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment – Labour Seven steps for training article for more information.
As an employer, you’ll need to provide your employees with information about KiwiSaver, and their KiwiSaver contributions will come straight out of their pay.
Your main roles in KiwiSaver are to:
- Check whether new employees are eligible to join KiwiSaver.
- Check whether new employees should be automatically enrolled.
- Give the KiwiSaver employee information pack (KS3) to new employees who qualify for automatic enrolment, and existing employees who want to opt in.
- Automatically enrol all new employees who are eligible.
- Provide information to Inland Revenue about all new employees who are automatically enrolled, and eligible employees who have opted into KiwiSaver.
- Provide new employees with a written statement if you have an employer-chosen scheme, and also that scheme’s investment statement.
- Unless the employee opts out, deduct KiwiSaver contributions and make compulsory employer contributions at the correct rate and forward them to Inland Revenue by the due date along with your PAYE payments.