2019 law changes: what you need to know — business.govt.nz

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2019 law changes: round-up

Here’s a brief overview of law changes that have recently, or will soon, come into effect. Check out what information applies to your business.

Drop in ACC Work levies

When: From April 2019

What: Employers and people who are self-employed will on average pay 6.9 percent less for their ACC Work Account levy over the coming two years.

Why: This reduction comes after standard public consultation.

What you need to do: Nothing. If you’re a small business owner, ACC will update your levies for you.

Note that if you’re self-employed, ACC is also changing the way you’re levied. In future, the income from your tax return will be used to calculate your levy for the same year. ACC will begin talking to self-employed people about this in April 2019. You can read more about what this means for self-employed people on the page below.

Changes to self-employed levies (external link)  – Accident Compensation Corporation

ACC work levies dropping (external link)

Do you have more questions about ACC levies?

Do you have more questions about ACC levies?

For more information, get in touch with ACC’s business contact centre:

Employers — phone 0800 222 776 (Monday to Friday 7am – 7pm)

Self-employed — phone 0508 426 837

business@acc.co.nz

Domestic violence leave now available

When: 1 April 2019

What: Any employee who’s been affected by domestic violence can request paid leave from their employer — up to 10 days per year. This leave is separate from annual, sick, and bereavement leave.

Why: So that people affected by domestic violence can have time to deal with the effects of that violence. These people can also request short-term flexible working arrangements.

What you need to do: Employers will need to consider the following requirements:

  • You won’t be able to discriminate against employees or job applicants because they’re victims or survivors of domestic violence.
  • You’ll need to allow employees who have been subjected to domestic violence at least 10 days of paid leave per year, and to consider flexible working arrangements.
  • It’s your responsibility to provide a safe workplace. This includes protection for people affected by domestic violence.

Domestic violence leave

Visit the Workplace Policy Builder to design a policy that complies with the new Act.

Workplace Policy Builder (external link)

New law helps people affected by domestic leave

Do you have more questions about the Domestic Violence — Victims’ Protection Act 2018?

Do you have more questions about the Domestic Violence — Victims’ Protection Act 2018?

Visit the Employment New Zealand (external link) web site, call Employment New Zealand toll free on 0800 20 90 20, or email employment@employment.govt.nz.

If you have a question about discrimination in employment, contact the Human Rights Commission on 0800 496 877, or email infoline@hrc.co.nz.

Changes to the Employment Relations Amendment Act 2018

When: From 6 May 2019

What: The following changes to the Employment Relations Amendment Act 2018 come into effect.

  • Employees must be given set rest and meal breaks based on the number of hours worked, to help them work safely and productively.
  • 90-day trial periods will be limited to businesses with 19 employees or fewer.
  • Employees in specified ‘vulnerable industries’ will be able to transfer their existing terms and conditions in their employment contract if their work is restructured, regardless of the size of their employer.  
  • Parties will not have to settle a multi-employer collective agreement — they can negotiate a single-employer collective agreement to conclude bargaining.
  • For the first 30 days, new employees must be employed under terms consistent with the collective agreement.
  • Pay rates will need to be included in collective agreements.
  • Employers will need to give reasonable paid time for union delegates to carry out their union activities.
  • Employers will need to pass on information about the role and function of unions to potential employees.

Why: The Act restores protections for employees, especially vulnerable employees, and strengthens the role of collective bargaining in the workplace.

What you need to do: You’ll need to take the following actions to get up to date with the most recent amendments.

  • If you have employees, make sure you give them at least the minimum rest and meal breaks.
  • If you have 20 or more employees, don’t include the clause about the 90-day trial period on your new employees’ employment contracts.
  • If you’re taking over a new business in specified ‘vulnerable industries’, you’ll need to allow existing employees to transfer the current terms and conditions in their employment contract. You’ll also have to give them a minimum of 10 working days to inform you of the transfer. 

If your business is operating under collective employment agreements, now is a good time to review these agreements with your unions.

Get more detail on the Employment Relations Amendment Act 2018 (external link) — Employment New Zealand

Vulnerable industries (external link) — Legislation.govt.nz

Last year’s changes to the Employment Relations Act

Do you have more questions about these changes to the Employment Relations Amendment Act 2018?

Do you have more questions about these changes to the Employment Relations Amendment Act 2018?

Visit the Employment New Zealand (external link) web site, call Employment New Zealand toll free on 0800 20 90 20, or email employment@employment.govt.nz.

Rise in minimum wage

When: 1 April 2019

What: The new minimum wage rates, before tax, are:

  • Adult — $17.70 an hour
  • Starting-out — $14.16 an hour (up from $13.20)
  • Training — $14.16 an hour (up from $13.20)

Starting-out and training minimum wages are 80% of the adult minimum wage. 

Why: Government must by law review the minimum wage rates every year.

What you need to do:  If your employment agreements are a few years old, you can use this as a chance to update them using our Employment Agreement Builder. It’s a legal requirement to have a written employment agreement with all your staff.

Minimum wage rises by $1.20 on 1 April 2019

Employment Agreement Builder (external link)

Do you have more questions about minimum pay rules?

Do you have more questions about minimum pay rules?

Visit the Employment New Zealand (external link) web site, call Employment New Zealand toll free on 0800 20 90 20, or email employment@employment.govt.nz.

Employers switch to payday filing

When: 1 April 2019

What: All employers need to switch to payday filing.

Why: To simplify tax processes.

What you need to do: If your business pays $50,000 or more a year in PAYE tax and Employer Superannuation Contribution tax, you have to file electronically from 1 April 2019. You can still file on paper if you pay less than $50,000.

Businesses should make sure they’re ready for payday filing.

  • If you’re using software, check it’s payday compatible.
  • If you’re filing through myIR, make sure you’re familiar with the Payroll account.
  • If you’re filing on paper, get used to the new forms you’ll have to fill in. You’ll have received them automatically in late March if you’re currently filing monthly employer schedules on paper.

Payday filing starts 1 April

Payday filing (external link) — Inland Revenue

Payday filing is changing [PDF 112KB] (external link) — Inland Revenue

Do you have more questions about payday filing?

Do you have more questions about payday filing?

Contact Inland Revenue on 0800 377 772, or email IRTransformation@ird.govt.nz.

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