If you employ people you need to take the time to understand a number of employment law changes. The law has changed on zero-hour contracts, shift cancellations, parental leave, record keeping and minimum wages.
Check out our examples and useful tools to get up to speed.
The Government has recently banned what’s commonly known as zero-hour contracts. All employment agreements must now clearly set out any hours you and your employee have agreed upon. Use the hours of work clause in our new Employment Agreement Builder (external link)
For workers with set hours: The number of days, start and finish times, or days of the week, you have both agreed to.
For workers who want flexible times: You don’t have to agree to set hours or days of work. You must, however, state any that you do agree to in the employment agreement.
Tom employs two drivers, Sam and Suzi, at his milk distribution business. Up until now, they’ve been on zero-hour contracts and have worked when Tom’s clients needed supplies.
Tom knows he now needs to tidy up their employment agreements. He figures, at a minimum, he’ll need each of them to work 10 hours a week.
Sam says he’s flexible with when he has to work. His employment agreement is updated to say Sam is guaranteed 10 hours’ work a week, but when these happen will remain flexible. Suzi, however, wants to finish work by 2pm so she can pick up her children from day care. Her employment agreement states she’ll work 10 hours a week from 10am to noon, Monday to Friday.
Any worker whose shift gets cancelled without reasonable notice is now entitled to reasonable compensation. Also, if you cancel work at the start of a shift, or cut it short, workers must be paid in full (including holiday accrual). No employee can agree to anything less than this.
Use the shift cancellation clause (external link) in our new Employment Agreement Builder. You have one year to update existing agreements.
The new rules do not go so far as to say what is reasonable notice or compensation for a cancelled shift. You need to work this out for yourself by thinking about:
It’s also a good idea to talk to others in your industry and get staff input.
This law change is straightforward — all you need to know is that there are new minimum wage rates:
You can always agree to any wage above the minimum rate. Whatever this rate is, though, needs to be put in writing. Use the payment of wages clause in our new Employment Agreement Builder (external link)
Parental leave payments have gone up from 16 to 18 weeks, and more people are now eligible, including:
Other things to know include:
New rules for parental leave (external link) — Employment New Zealand
Employers must keep accurate records for each of their employees and produce them when requested by either an employee or a labour inspector — this has not changed. New employment legislation reinforces employer obligations to keep accurate employment records.
The law now spells out that these records must be kept for all employees and must include:
Accurate records are also a good foundation for an employment relationship. You and your staff can be confident they’re getting the correct entitlements. And if there’s a dispute, accurate and up-to-date records will help resolve the issue.
Clearer record-keeping requirements (external link) — Employment New Zealand
Personnel files and record-keeping — business.govt.nz