Recent Employment Law changes - FAQs on hours of work, shift cancellation, secondary employment and deductions

Changes to various pieces of employment legislation came into effect on 1 April 2016.  We wrote about the changes here;

Impact of the Harmful Digital Communications Act (HDCA) in Workplace Communications

The Harmful Digital Communications Act 2015 (HDCA) comes into effect in 2017, and is intended to address “cyber-bullying”.  This may impact workplaces as employers who control social media or websites which are used for harmful digital communications will have obligations to address these.

Workplace Discrimination

Discrimination claims and complaints are becoming more popular with employees, and employers need to understand their obligations in this area and take action where an issue of discrimination arises. 

Employees can choose to bring a discrimination claim in either the Human Rights Review Tribunal (HRRT) (within one year) or the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) (within 90 days).  Recent remedies awarded by the HRRT at a significantly higher level than the ERA suggest this avenue is likely to be used increasingly in future.

Zero Hour Contract Restrictions

A law change restricting zero hour contracts becomes effective from 1 April 2016, following amendment to the Employment Relations Act 2000 (“Act”).

Trial Periods: what is required, and how to safely dismiss

Trial periods are available to all employers for new employees for the first 90 days of employment, and are a helpful tool because they allow employers to dismiss without recourse to a personal grievance claim for unjustified dismissal.

However, there are a number of requirements that must be met in order for the trial period to be safely relied upon to dismiss, and the Courts strictly interpret these requirements because they limit employee rights.


Incapacity - when to cry halt?

Kate Ashcroft spoke at the Conferenz 30th Annual Industrial and Employment Relations Conference recently, on incapacity, and this article summarises key points from her presentation

Health & Safety Regulations released: What you need to know about the new control hierarchy

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 and adventure activities.

Employment Standards Legislation Bill Passes

The Employment Standards Legislation Bill was passed last week and comes into effect 1 April 2016, changing the following five key employment laws:

  • Employment Relations Act 2000
  • The Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987
  • Minimum Wage Act 1983
  • Holidays Act 2003
  • Wages Protection Act 1983

The impact of the new law includes:


Many economists are predicting difficult global market conditions in 2016, and this has been borne out already in some sectors including dairy farming.  Given this, having to make people redundant for whatever reason may be a possibility for many businesses. 

Mandatory drug and alcohol testing for Aviation and Maritime Sectors

Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss announced in a Press Release this week that mandatory drug and alcohol testing will be introduced for the commercial aviation and maritime sectors by 2017.  Employers in these sectors will be required to undertake random drug testing, and to implement a drug and alcohol management plan approved by either the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) or Maritime New Zealand (MNZ).