News

Bullying, Harassment & Stress

The Copeland Ashcroft Law Team recently presented a seminar roadshow on the crossover between employment law and health and safety obligations, and one of the areas of focus in this presentation was the management of work related bullying, harassment, and stress.  This article summarises some of the “need to know” basic tips from the roadshow.

Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace

The Copeland Ashcroft Law Team recently presented a seminar roadshow on the crossover between employment law and health and safety obligations, and one of the areas of focus in this presentation was the management of drug and alcohol testing in the workplace.  This article summarises some of the “need to know” basic tips from the roadshow.

Fixed Price Offer! Health and safety gap analysis and employment agreement review

Recent changes to employment and health and safety law mean that all employers need to update their health and safety plans and employment agreements.  We’re offering fixed price reviews of your health and safety plans and employment agreements – contact us for your fixed price and to discuss how we can help you make sure you’re covered in terms of the changes.

Employment law changes:
On 1 April 2016, amendments were made to several key pieces of employment law.  The impact of the new law included:

Copeland Ashcroft Law appoints new Associate

Copeland Ashcroft Law is very pleased to announce that it has appointed Charlie Arms-Harris as an Associate working out of its Queenstown office.  Having worked as a senior solicitor for the firm since 2011, Charlie is well known and respected in the Otago and Southland regions as an employment, immigration and health and safety lawyer with a proven track record.

Pay Equity - a complex equation

The Employment Court and then the Court of Appeal recently considered the issue of pay equity following a claim under the Equal Pay Act 1972 (Act) by aged care workers, where the workforce is predominantly made up of women. 

In essence, pay equity means gender doesn't affect what people are paid and women receive the same pay as men for doing the same work, and also for doing work that is different, but of equal value. The value of work is assessed in terms of skills, knowledge, responsibility, effort and working conditions.

Vulnerable Children's Act

The Vulnerable Children’s Act 2014 (Act) was introduced to prevent people with relevant serious convictions from working alone with children.  The Act prescribes new requirements for all government funded employers to conduct specified background checking called ‘safety checks’ on all new and existing employees and contractors who have regular and unsupervised contact with children, “children’s workers”.  Children’s workers are defined as “core” or “non-core” workers, depending on the type of contact they have with children.

Safety checks involve:

Suspension: Do's and Don'ts

It’s a common misconception that an employer can simply not require an employee to attend work where a disciplinary investigation is underway.  However, this amounts to suspension unless it is agreed with the employee, and unlawful suspensions are risky in terms of potential personal grievances.  Employers therefore need to tread carefully when sending an employee away from the workplace.

What is suspension?
A suspension from work is where an employee remains employed but is directed to temporarily stay away from the workplace.

Restraint of Trade

Throughout the course of an employment relationship, an employee, particularly those at a senior level, will have access to commercially sensitive information about the business they work for including client lists, prices, marketing, trade secrets and intellectual property.  Understandably, where an employee then leaves the business the employer often wants to protect this information to maintain their client relationships and the ongoing viability of their business.

Worker participation in health and safety - what does this mean for your business?

A raft of new regulations to support the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (Act) were released recently, covering general risk and workplace management, worker engagement, participation and representation, major hazards, asbestos, as well as infringement fees and more specific topics like mining, quarrying and adventure activities.

Extending Parental Leave

As you may be aware, on 1 April 2016, the Employment Standards Bill came into force making changes to parental leave provisions by extending paid parental leave from 16 to 18 weeks.

Paid parental leave may now be extended to 26 weeks, with the Parental Leave and Employment Protection (Six Months' paid leave) Amendment Bill passing its second reading in Parliament on 25 May 2016.