Employee or Volunteer?

A recent decision by the Employment Court considered a claim by a volunteer worker that they were actually an employee.  The Employment Court provided useful comment on the differences between volunteers and employees and the circumstances where a volunteer may be deemed to be an employee.

Unlawful premiums on employment: Case Summary

A recent Employment Court decision has determined that a recruitment agency breached the Wages Protection Act 1983 (WPA) by charging premiums for job offers.

Case summary
Section 12A of the WPA prohibits premiums being charged for employment. The section states that where an employer receives any money by way of a premium, such as a deduction from wages, then the employee may recover that amount from the employer.

Union delegate to be treated like other employees: Case Summary

A recent decision by the Employment Court determined that a company unlawfully terminated one of their employees due to his role as a union delegate with the union.   The company was ordered to pay $19,721.29 to the individual, plus interest.

Changes to Minimum Wage Rates

Changes to Minimum Wage Rates will come into effect from 1 April 2017.

The adult minimum wage rate will increase from $15.25 per hour to $15.75 (before tax) an hour.

The starting out wage and training minimum wage will increase from $12.20 to $12.60 (before tax) per hour.

26 January 2017

Company officer found personally liable for unpaid wages

Company officer held personally liable for unpaid wages
A recent decision by the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) determined that as the employer company was in liquidation, a company officer was personally liable to pay eight staff unpaid wages and holiday pay totalling $70,053.54.   

Maritime Drug and Alcohol Testing

The law in relation to drug and alcohol testing in workplaces continues to develop slowly in New Zealand, but a strong step forward is signalled for maritime and aviation operators soon.  In line with the Ministry of Transport, Civil Aviation Authority and Maritime New Zealand’s “Clear Heads” initiative, new drug and alcohol testing requirements in the commercial maritime sector may be introduced later this year.  

By the “Clear Heads” initiative, the government is set to implement three changes:

Paying properly for public holidays this festive season

The Christmas period can be a challenging time of year for employers trying to manage the minefield that is the Holidays Act 2003 (Act), but it pays to get it right!

Paid Rest Breaks

All employees are entitled to paid rest breaks.  This is set out in the Employment Relations Act 2000 (“the Act”) and seems a relatively clear entitlement.   But what rate are employees to be paid over their rest breaks? And what happens if the employee is on a variable pay rate when they take their rest break?  The Court of Appeal (CoA) recently answered this question in the case Lean Meats Oamaru Limited v New Zealand Meat Workers And Related Trades Union Incorporated [2016] NZCA 495.

International Employment Disputes - which law applies?

A recent decision by the Court of Appeal (CoA) upheld the rules of private international law by determining that the Employment Relations Act 2000 (ERA) will not apply to New Zealand based employees, where both parties have a legal employment agreement to be bound by a foreign country’s employment law. 

Health and Safety Update - Contractor Management Best Practice

All businesses need to consider their contractor management processes and planning, to meet the requirements of the new Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (Act).  Our team has been delivering seminars nationwide on best practice contractor management, and this article discusses what is required.