In Tuition – OurHR is your HR (Kapiti News 28/04/16)

Minimum employment standards….what are they?

There have been some significant changes to current employment legislation as a result of concerns relating to unfair employment practices and limitation of employment benefits.

Some unfair employment practices included docking a petrol station worker for customer theft or expecting an employee to be on call 24 hours a day for no guaranteed hours (zero-hour contract).

Employers cannot now require employees to sit around waiting for shifts without guaranteeing a minimum number of hours and reasonable compensation for being on-call.

A shift cannot be cancelled without reasonable notice or compensation if the notice is breached. These must be detailed in the employment agreement otherwise the employee may be entitled to be paid for the cancelled shift.

Parental leave provisions have been extended and certain other workers have access to these. This now includes workers such as casual employees, seasonal workers, fixed term employees and multi-employer workers. Parents of premature babies can also access additional payments. Parental leavers can work for up to 40 hours in the parental leave period without any effect on their parental leave entitlements under the provision called ‘keeping in-touch days’. Entitlements are now available to ‘primary carers’. These can include Home for Life parents, whangai arrangements, grandparents, and other primary carers.

Restricting an employee’s secondary work is also banned unless there are genuine reasons such as protecting commercially sensitive information or intellectual property. These reasons however must be specified in the employment agreement.

Employers must consult with employees about deductions from pay. Deductions cannot be made if they are unreasonable.

Pay and leave records must be kept for each pay period. These include the hours worked each day, pay for those hours, holiday pay and leave records. This will be harder for employers with salaried employees as generally they don’t record hours worked per day and the pay for those hours worked.

There are tougher sanctions should employers not meet all their minimum employment standards such as minimum wage, holiday entitlements and sick leave. Officers of a company can be pursued should an employee not be paid their minimum entitlements such as wages and holiday pay/leave provisions if the company is unable to make such payments.

The Health & Safety at Work Act 2015 and all its related Regulations came into play on the 4th of April 2016. Call me to discuss your specific needs and we can work out what documentation you need.

If you require assistance with any of your ‘people’ issues, please do contact me.