From contractors’ tax to Easter trading, hazardous substances to ACC levy changes and more, it’s been a big year for business-related law changes. Here’s a summary — check it out to make sure you are across any new rules that apply to you. Each law change section has links to more information.
When: 1 April 2017
What: The adult minimum wage rate went up 50c to $15.75 an hour. The starting-out and training rates rose by 40c to $12.60.
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 any workers are on starting-out or training wages, now is a good time to check when they’ll be eligible to move onto the adult rate.
When: 1 April 2017
What: All contractors can have tax deducted from their pay at a rate of their choosing. New Zealand tax residents can pick any rate from 10% up to 100%.
This is compulsory for all contractors hired by a recruiter — or other labour hire business — and those under previous schedular payment rules. Other contractors can opt in if their payer agrees to deduct tax on their behalf.
What contractors need to do: Fill out the new tax form (IR330C) if either:
Tax rate notification for contractors (IR330C) (external link) — Inland Revenue
What employers need to do: Give contractors the new tax form (IR330C) if either:
Update your payroll and add these contractors to your employer monthly schedule (EMS).
When: Levy period 2017-2019, starting 1 April 2017
What: Whether you’re an employer or self-employed, Work levies went down by an average 10% over the next two years, compared to 2016/17 rates.
What you need to do: Nothing. ACC will calculate your new levy, which will be in your next invoice.
But to help plan your budget, it’s a good idea to check what your new levy is likely to be, using ACC’s online calculators and downloading the levy guidebook.
When: 1 April 2017
What: ACC’s Workplace Safety Discount (WSD) for small businesses and self-employed people is no longer offered now new health and safety laws are in place.
What you need to do: Nothing. If you’re on the WSD programme, your discount will continue until its expiry date.
When: Levy period 2017-2019, starting 1 July 2017
What: The average Motor Vehicle levy, which includes the ACC levy portion of the rego and the petrol levy, fell by 12.5% — from $130.26 to $113.94 a vehicle — on 1 July 2017. The petrol levy component fell from 6.9 cents to 6c a litre — a 13% reduction.
What you need to do: Nothing. ACC will calculate your new Motor Vehicle levy and this will be included in your next rego payment. Go to ACC's workplace safety incentives page for an update on the new products and services being developed.
When: Easter 2017
What: Local councils may let shops in their district open on Easter Sunday. But employees can choose whether to work that day.
What you need to do: If you are a shop owner, check with your local council if you can open on Easter Sunday — in 2018, it’s on 1 April. If you decide to open, you must give staff written notice of their right to refuse to work at least four weeks’ in advance but no more than eight weeks before Easter Sunday. This means giving written notice between 4 February and 4 March in 2018.
Restricted shop trading tool (external link) — Employment New Zealand
When: 1 June 2017
What: Parents who want to get parental leave payments can choose to first use other types of paid leave they are entitled to, eg:
They can choose to start their 18-week parental leave payment period once they have taken other types of paid leave — even if this is after the child’s arrival. Previously the parental leave payment period couldn’t start later than the child’s arrival.
What you need to do: Make sure you know the new rules if either you or an eligible worker is expecting a baby, or is taking on permanent responsibility for a child under six years old.
Parental leave scenarios: Who can and can’t take it (external link) — Employment New Zealand
When: 1 June 2017
What: If a working parent is applying for or getting parental leave payments and their baby arrives before the end of 36 weeks’ pregnancy, they can get:
When: From 28 August 2017
What: For Essential Skills visa-holders paid less than 85% of the median wage with jobs classed as lower-skilled, new conditions include:
What you’ll need to do: If you employ someone from overseas, or are thinking about it, check if the job you offer and the amount you pay will affect their visa conditions. For those already in New Zealand on a work visa, the three-year limit will start from the date of their next lower-skilled Essential Skills visa issued after 28 August 2017.
When: 1 December 2017
What: New regulations for the safe handling and management of hazardous substances in the workplace. All businesses that make, handle, use or store hazardous substances are expected to ensure people know what substances they are working with, the risks they pose, and how to manage those risks.
What you’ll need to do: Check the new requirements for the safe manufacture, use, handling, storage and disposal of hazardous substances. If you are complying with the current rules, then you may not need to change a lot. Read our article on this law change — there’s a 10-step list to work through.
Hazardous Substances Toolbox (external link) — WorkSafe