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Time's up for 'zero-hour' contracts

Changes to employment law will ban so-called zero-hour contracts. Here's what you'll need to know for your business.

1 April 2016.

If you’re an employer, you must set out any agreed hours of work in the employment agreement for each employee.

If you and your employee agree to set hours — eg any number of days, start and finish times, or days of the week — include details in their employment agreement. Make sure these are followed.

But if you both prefer flexibility, you don’t have to agree to any set hours.

If you plan to require an employee to be available for work, eg on call, then you must give them at least some guaranteed hours of work.

The Government wants to stop unfair employment practices. Workers who don’t have guaranteed hours of work find it hard to plan their finances and personal lives. The aim is to allow flexibility when you and your staff both agree to it, and to give employees some certainty about what they can and cannot expect from their employer.

What you'll need to do

Review your employees’ contracts to make sure they include hours of work. Remember to include details of any agreed set hours. Examples include:

  • any guaranteed hours of work
  • start and finish times
  • days of the week.
The new law introduced other changes to make employment practices fairer,

The new law introduced other changes to make employment practices fairer,

including a rule that you can't cancel shifts without giving your workers reasonable notice or reasonable compensation. Find out more in our article on new shift cancellation rules.

Zero-hour contracts law change (external link) — Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Creating an employment agreement — Business.govt.nz

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