Employment Law

Stiff penalties for employment breaches – are you getting the basics right?

Breaches of employment law attract stiff penalties and labour inspectors have wide powers. Employers must understand and comply with their legal obligations to avoid liability.

Strong employment relationships

Productive workplaces are built on strong employment relationships. Mutual obligations of good faith behaviour are central to the Employment Relations Act which is the primary law governing employment in NZ. It covers certain terms and conditions of employment, for example probationary arrangements and trial periods, agreed hours of work, and rest breaks. It also deals with personal grievances, disputes, and enforcement of minimum entitlements.

Multiple laws governing employment

Holidays and leave, wages protection, minimum wage and equal pay, parental leave, KiwiSaver, and immigration are all governed by separate laws. There are also human rights and privacy laws to consider, as well as contracts with minors, and protected disclosures.

Get the complete guide to employment law in NZ

Our employment law guide gives you straightforward and practical guidance on employment relations. It covers everything from entering into employment agreements to terminating them, and the steps in between. Whether it is the law relating to holiday and leave entitlements, remuneration and breaks, or employment conflict resolution, this guide covers it.

Available on subscription, the guide provides:

  • Essential elements of employment law for businesses
  • Key provisions of the legislation
  • Case studies and examples
  • FAQs

 Access to a selection of best practice tools is included, such as checklists, templates, forms, guidelines and policy builders.




Personal grievance cases on the rise

Businesses are getting employment law wrong, particularly in key areas like dismissing staff and not following the proper procedures. Consequently personal grievance cases are on the rise. Many employers aren't aware of their employment obligations or rights and need to be more proactive to avoid the steep penalties being imposed by the courts.

Risks for SMEs

Small businesses are most exposed to employment breaches because they don’t always have the necessary resources available. That’s how we can help. We provide the resources and tools you’ll need to make sure you get it right.

Directors being targeted

Directors who fold companies to avoid liability for employment breaches are being pursued by the Labour Inspectorate. “We will continue to pursue cases ... targeting those who might be hiding behind a company name or failure, or closing it down deliberately, to get away with not paying what they owe for their employment breaches”, a Labour Inspector said, after a man who liquidated his company on being penalised nearly $430,000 was made personally liable for the $120,000 still outstanding.

How can you reduce your risk?

With Dacreed's online compliance training you can train managers and staff on the employment law they need to comply with to help protect you and your business from prosecution. Once completed, the training also enables you to demonstrate a lower risk profile to insurers. This results in lower premiums – saving you and your business money.



Employee or contractor?

Whether a worker is an employee or contractor is determined by the actual work arrangement. There are defined legal criteria that establish which category a worker falls into. It is not something that one of the parties can just decide.

Employers trying to deprive employees of their entitlement to minimum employment standards have been sent a clear message by the Employment Relations Authority. A company that treated employees as contractors to save money on employee entitlements was ordered to pay nearly $100K in minimum wage and holiday pay arrears, as well as interest and other penalties and costs.

Train your staff on employment relations basics

Make sure your employees and managers are aware of their obligations and help you grow and maintain a productive workplace culture with Dacreed's online compliance training.