2018 law changes: round-up

From payday filing to the paid parental leave extension, here’s a summary of what’s new and what’s changed for small businesses – check which apply to you.

Charging tenants for letting fees banned

When: 12 December 2018

What: Letting fees can no longer be charged to tenants, and anyone who does charge them could be ordered to pay up to $1,000 by the Tenancy Tribunal.

What you need to do: Letting agents and solicitors can still offer services relating to renting a property, like advertising and arranging viewings, but they can’t charge the tenant for these.

Letting fees banned (external link) — Tenancy Services

Minimum wage rates rise

When: 1 April 2018

What: The adult minimum wage rate (before tax) went up 75c to $16.50 an hour. The starting out and training rates rose 60c to $13.20.

What you need to do: If you pay your workers minimum wage rates, you should have already updated your payroll and their employment agreements.

If you have workers on starting out or training minimum wages, this is also a good time to check when they’ll be eligible to move onto the adult minimum wage rate.

Minimum wage rates

Payday filing

When: Voluntary from 1 April 2018, compulsory from 1 April 2019

What: Businesses will need to file payroll information every payday, rather than once a month. This will replace the employer monthly schedule (EMS).

Why: To make a business’s tax requirements part of its payroll process, rather than a separate step.

What you need to do: Figure out how and when you’ll opt in.

You may find payday filing easier if you use payroll software, because this allows your payroll information, including salary, wages, PAYE and other deductions, to be automatically sent to Inland Revenue at the same time as you pay your employees.

If you already use payroll software, ask your provider how they can support payday filing.

If you don’t use payroll software, start planning now. You’ll have time after your payday to file the returns. Payment due dates for PAYE and other deductions won’t change.

Payday filing (external link) — Inland Revenue

Paid parental leave extended

When: For employees taking parental leave for a child born (or who came into the employee’s care) from 1 July 2018.

What: The number of weeks that a parent can get government-funded parental leave payments increased from 18 weeks to 22 weeks.

The number of hours that an employee can do paid work while they are on parental leave increased from 40 hours to 52 hours during the parental leave period.

Paid parental leave (external link) — Employment New Zealand

Changes to the Food Act

When: 31 March 2018

What: New Food Act 2014 rules apply to most businesses that sell or trade in food, from vegetable growers, to manufacturers, restaurants and everyone in between. The Act is now in its final stages of implementation.

Why: Everyone working in the food industry has a responsibility to make sure that the food we buy is safe and suitable to eat. This law change means food safety rules are tailored to individual businesses, rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach.

What you need to do: If you make or sell food, you will most likely need to register your business under the Act, and meet food safety requirements. Existing food businesses need to be registered by 28 February 2019. After this date, new food businesses need to register under the Act before they start selling food. Use the links below to find out what rules apply to you and what you need to do.

How do the rules apply to me? (external link) — Ministry for Primary Industries

Food Act 2014 (external link) — Ministry for Primary Industries

Anti-money laundering and countering financing of terrorism

When: Dates for compliance vary depending on your business activity:

  • 1 July 2018 for lawyers and conveyancers
  • 1 October 2018 for accountants and bookkeepers
  • 1 January 2019 for real estate agents
  • 1 August 2019 for dealers in high value goods

What: The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Act is being expanded to cover a lot more New Zealand businesses.

Why: This will help to detect and deter criminals laundering money or financing terrorism through New Zealand businesses. It also makes sure New Zealand meets international standards and protects our reputation as a good place to do business.

What you need to do: If the law applies to you, you are required to:

  • understand your money laundering and terrorism financing risks
  • meet new reporting requirements
  • meet new requirements for verifying the identity of your customers
  • keep good records
  • develop an AML/CFL programme.

Find out if your business is affected (external link) — Ministry of Justice

New hazardous substances regulations

When: From 1 June 2018, new regulations apply around:

  • additional training requirements for hazardous substances
  • requirements for storing certain classes of hazardous substances outside a hazardous substances location
  • requirements around storing certain classes of hazardous substances at a transit depot.

What: Changes to the Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2017

Why: Poor management of hazardous substances can cause harm or death.

Requirements have been coming into effect since 1 December 2017, and time has been given for businesses to make provision for some changes. Further regulations will come into effect in June 2019 and December 2019.

What you need to do: Check which changes apply to you. WorkSafe’s Commencement and Transitional Arrangements page provides details on specific regulations and commencement dates for when you need to apply. It’s also a good idea to talk to your industry or trade body about the new regulations and how best to comply.

Guides to changes (external link) — WorkSafe

Commencement and transitional arrangements (external link) — Worksafe

New Customs and Excise Act

When: 1 October 2018

What: The new Customs and Excise Act 2018 took effect on 1 October 2018. Some businesses are affected by the changes. You need to ensure you understand if and how you’re impacted.

Who: Importers, exporters, excise manufacturers, brokers, declarant and logistics services including storage and transport of imports and exports.

Why: The new Act is much easier to understand. Some new services have been introduced, and there have been changes to some existing services.

Customs and Excise Act 2018 (external link) — New Zealand Customs

Rating form

How helpful was this article?

Rate this