Employment Agreements – IEA

Good employment relationships occur when everyone has clear expectations about the role, working conditions and employment rights.

Every employee must have a written employment agreement.

This can be either an individual agreement or a collective agreement which sets out the terms and conditions of employment.

There are some provisions that must be included in employment agreements by law, and there are also a number of minimum conditions that must be met regardless of whether they are included in agreements.

We are surprised at the amount of callers who have no employment agreements in place.

Under s63A of the Employment Relations Act 2000 an employer must provide an employee with a written employment agreement, and penalties may be awarded under s64 if no written employment agreement is provided.

Employees should be given a reasonable amount of time to look over their agreements and return them. An employer must ensure that the agreement is signed and returned to them before you start work.  This is particularly important if the Agreement is relying on a 90 Day Trial Period being in place. 

For example, a standard agreement clause allows the employer to deduct wages in lieu of notice. This is not enforceable without your signature on the agreement. The reason for this is because there is a separate piece of legislation that protects employees’ wages under the Wages Protection Act 1983. Under the Act you may not make deductions from employees’ wages without their consent. The employment agreement provides the consent that is legally needed to carry out any deductions in employees’ wages.

Our company is able to check your employment agreement to ensure that it meets the required standard – and also to resolve situations where your employment contract has been breached.  Contact us if you have no employment contract and need our help to deal with your employer.

Call us on 0800 669 466 and let us connect you with the right people and proccesses to help you or email us using the form provided below.

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Unsafe working environment – health and safety

Being in an unsafe working environment can make your job increasingly difficult. Employers must provide a safe workplace, with proper training, supervision and equipment. This duty includes identifying, assessing and managing hazards in the workplace, and investigating health and safety incidents in the workplace.

Employees must take reasonable care to keep themselves safe, and to avoid causing harm to other people by the way they do their work.

Employees may refuse work likely to cause them serious harm and employees have the right to participate in improving health and safety.

If you feel that you are working in an unsafe environment and your employer is unwilling to discuss or resolve the issue – contact us, our company can assist you in dealing with your concerns.

Please provide a timeline of events, and any evidence of you making your employer aware of the situation.  

Bullying and harassment is also a health and safety issue. See our page on bullying here: Bullying In The NZ Workplace

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BACKGROUND OF SITUATION

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Restructuring

Is your employer restructuring your workplace?

Employers may need to make changes with restructuring in the workplace for a variety of reasons, such as:

The law requires employers to provide information to employees when they are considering changes that will affect their jobs and to give them an opportunity to contribute to any decisions.

If you find yourself in the position of being subjected to a restructuring process – our company can provide representation to ensure that your rights are upheld.

Check our page on redundancy

More: When is a redundancy not a redundancy?

Wages Protection – Unlawful Deductions

Deductions on wages are governed by the Wages Protection Act 1983.  No payments can be unlawfully deducted from wages.

It is the duty of the employer to make regular returns on PAYE on your behalf, in addition other deductions may apply including KiwiSaver, child support payments and student loan repayments. If you encounter a problem on payments of your tax we can help investigate. We can help ensure you are being paid above minimum wage for hours worked and the pursuant to your employment contract you are being paid at the correct rate.

If you have a problem with your employer making Unlawful Deductions from your wages we can help you get your money back and also help resolve any dispute you have with matter that led to the deduction. We can also help you if your wages are underpaid or late paid outside statutory provisions. We can look at your holiday entitlements that should be reflected in your pay.

Where you have any concerns regarding your pay contact us to discuss. Sometimes a wage problem is the beginning of a bigger problem with your employer. We can act quickly on your behalf to keep things from escalating.

Parental Leave

Parental leave is governed by the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987.

Where you are entitled to parental leave your job should be there for you when you return.

It is very rare that a job cannot be kept open.

In most cases you are expected to give three months notice of your intention to take leave. There are often problems for the employer keeping a job open such a lengthy period of time and you need to check on several points both before and during leave. We can help ensure your job is still there when you return. Problems also arise when an employee seeks leave and the employment relationship deteriorates. We can help identify problems and resolve them on your behalf.

It is best to consult us before you tell your employer you are seeking parental leave to avoid potential problems. We can ensure your leave is handled appropriately. We can also help with problems of discrimination against women having children and remaining in the workplace including elements of age and gender discrimination.

If you suspect you are being prejudiced in the workplace in any way give us a call.

Permanent and Casual Employment

In the absence of a written employment agreement a casual employee may be considered a permanent employee if they regularly work for the employer.

There can be a thin line between permanent and casual employment. In some cases, employment may start on a casual basis, but evolve over time to be permanent – even if the parties don’t realise this has happened. There are several points of reference that need to be determined in order to decide if on the facts a particular job is permanent or casual. Such points include the following:

  • A person may be considered a permanent employee if they are found to regularly work for the employer. However, where any such employee has signed an employment agreement which designates employment as casual then it will be more difficult, but not impossible, to argue that such employment is in fact permanent.
  • A part-time employee is likely to be classed as a permanent employee if that employee reasonably held an expectation of a continued offer of regular employment by the employer.
  • Initial casual employment may change to permanent employment if there is evidence that, over time, such employment evolved from an irregular and uncertain offer to a regular and certain offer of employment by the employer.

We can help you determine whether your employment is casual or part time and pursue any grievance you may have arising from your employment.

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