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.

Have you updated your employment agreements yet?

All employers need to update their employment agreements for recent legislative changes – have you done yours yet?  Our team has been delivering seminars nationwide on employment agreements and the finer points relating to these changes, as well as how to avoid common pitfalls in relation to tricky agreement clauses.  

Overlapping PCBU duties - what is expected?

PCBUs have a primary duty to ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, that the health and safety of workers, and others at the worksite, is not put at risk by its work.  But what happens on a building site where multiple contractors and subcontractors are working at the same time.  Who does this duty fall to?  Simply put, both risk and responsibility lies with each PCBU, and overlapping duties arise.

Disciplinary Investigations: reassurance for employers

The Court of Appeal recently considered what is required of an employer who investigates an employee’s alleged misconduct.  The good news is the decision indicates that the standard expected of employers conducting an investigation does not equate to a judicial enquiry.