Are you managing risks around employment?

Managing people has become increasingly complex, with employers struggling to keep up to date with the multiple laws they must comply with and the latest best practice in human resource methods. At the same time, employers face greater risks on the people front than ever before.  Staff are more aware of their legal rights and regulators like WorkSafe, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Labour Inspectorate, and Immigration New Zealand, are very proactive in investigating employer practices and taking action where these do not comply with the law.

Review of Holidays Act announced

On 29 May 2018, the Government announced that it had formed a working group with Business New Zealand and the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions to review the Holidays Act 2003 (HA).  Recommendations and possible legislative changes are not likely to be announced until 2019, but we’re hopeful the eventual result will be a simpler law! 

Records of settlement – full and final?

A record of settlement (agreement) can be very useful tool to achieve finality in any claim, where agreement is reached.  However, a recent Human Rights Review Tribunal (HRRT) decision to strike out a claim which related to an employment matter that had been fully and finally settled, demonstrates the relationship between privacy and employment law.    

The decision highlights the need to take care when drafting and entering into an agreement in full and final settlement of any employment matter.

New Rotorua Office

We are now in Rotorua at 1268 Arawa Street, Rotorua 3010.

For further information, or to make an appointment, please contact Renee Harley (07) 577 8663

Don't forget to register for Employment Risk Management Seminar

Join us at our next free seminar on employment risk management. New Zealand’s employment law landscape is becoming more complicated, and employers are kept on their toes managing the risks this creates, including personal grievances and other claims. During our June/July seminar series, with dates and venues around New Zealand, we will discuss the following:

Are Unpaid Meetings Considered “Work”?

The short answer is, yes, as a recent Employment Court decision involving retail chain, Smiths City, has confirmed.

New Privacy Bill

The Privacy Act 1993 (Act) establishes information privacy principles setting out how agencies may collect, store, use and disclose personal information. Employers are “agents” under the Act and must meet its requirements in dealing with employees’ “personal information”.

Parliament is considering a new Privacy Bill (Bill) which proposes to impose more substantive fines, greater power for the Privacy Commissioner (Commissioner) and a requirement to report any privacy breaches.

Penalties for Breaches of Minimum Employment Standards

In a new case, significant penalties have been awarded against a construction company for breach of minimum employment standards.  Labour Inspectorate resources have significantly increased recently, resulting in more of these kinds of investigations and claims in the Employment Relations Authority, and employers should be aware that all workplaces are vulnerable to this occurring.

Vulnerable Children’s Act – new requirements for safety checks

The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 (VCA) was introduced to provide greater protection for children, requiring specified employers, who are funded by government, to conduct safety checks on workers who have regular contact with children as part of their role.  You can read our article summarising the Act here.

Who should supply PPE?

A recent Employment Relations Authority (Authority) case is a timely reminder of overlapping employment and health and safety obligations. 

The requirement to supply Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is set out in the Health and Safety at Work (General Risk and Workplace Management) Regulations 2016 (the regulations).  If a workplace has identified that PPE is a means of controlling a particular risk, then it is the employer’s responsibility to provide its employees with PPE.