Employers – stay on top of the recent changes to New Zealand employment law that affect you. In this article, we explain key changes to the Employment Relations Act, and a new bill that aims to increase workplace protection for victims of domestic violence.
Employment Relations Amendment Act 2018
From 12 December 2018, the Employment Relations Amendment Act 2018 introduced changes which reinstate the role of unions to pre-2015, including:
- The right for union representatives to enter the workplace without consent providing the employees are covered under or working towards a collective agreement.
- Pay deductions can no longer be made for partial strikes(e.g wearing t-shirts instead of uniforms as part of low-level industrial action).
From 6 May 2019, further changes to be introduced under this Act include:
- Employers are allowed to set rest and meal breaks – for example, an eight-hour work day must include two 10-minute rest breaks (paid) and one 30-minute meal break (unpaid), while a four-hour work day must include one 10-minute rest break (paid).
- 90-day trial periods are restricted to businesses with less than 20 employees. For businesses with more than 20 employees a probationary period can still be used to assess an employee’s skills against the job’s responsibilities.
Further information on these changes and other important information is available here.
Domestic Violence Victim Protection Act 2018
From 1 May 2019, the Domestic Violence Victims Protection Act 2018 will come into effect. The act aims to enhance legal protections in the workplace for people affected by domestic violence. Under this Act, victims of domestic violence will be eligible for 10 days paid leave a year, and employers are under an obligation to work with affected employees to help the employee deal with the effect of domestic violence.
Further information on these changes is available here.
If you’re an employer and you’d like to know more about how these changes to NZ employment law will affect you and your business, please contact our specialist employment lawyers today for advice that’s specific to your unique situation.
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