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.

Is your employer making you redundant?

Redundancy

If you are being made redundant give us a call and we'll check that your rights are being met.

In business change is constant and often necessary.   Redundancy happens to most of us at some stage in our work lives.

Redundancy need not be a tragedy. Handled well it can create a financial opportunity to take a long-planned step in your career or facilitate the move to a better job.

There should be a genuine reason.

Sometimes employers use ‘Redundancy’ to dismiss staff when they don’t have grounds for dismissal.    If your employer says the business is struggling, but there is no evidence of that, or if you are the only person who is facing the redundancy process then it may not be genuine.  Your employer can’t employ a new person to do the same job as you, but they may be able to combine two jobs.  They can’t make you redundant and then advertise for someone to fill your role.  

It is a genuine redundancy if a person’s employment has been ended because their employer has decided, for ‘genuine reasons’ that the employee’s job is no longer needed. A ‘genuine  reason’  could, for example, be that the employer is making changes to enable the business to operate more efficiently and cost effectively; or closing down or selling the business. 
Minor alterations to a job’s role and responsibilities should not be a reason for redundancy.

When can a person be made redundant?

Two circumstances need to be present in order for a redundancy to occur:

  1. The position must be superfluous to the employer’s needs.
    For example, where a larger number of employees are employed than necessary to operate the business efficiently, certain positions may be disestablished.
  2. The position must actually disappear. The employer cannot claim redundancy by changing a job description slightly or employing new employees to undertake the same or a similar position.
  3. The employee must not be at fault

The decision must be about the position and must not be about an individual employee personally.  The employer cannot use redundancy as a means of getting rid of under-performing employees or disciplining employees for misconduct.

What is the process for making a person redundant?

Your employer must follow the proper process when they need to make you redudundant.

Restructuring or redundancy must be carried out in good faith and your employer must not mislead or deceive you.

Your employer must;

  • Give you written notice of a discussion/meeting. The letter should say that the meeting is to discuss redundancy or restructuring ;
  • tell you the reasons for the proposed changes, and how they will affect your job;
  • consult with you and anyone else who may be made redundant;
  • give you a chance to get independent advice, and to have a representative or support person with you when you attend the meeting to discuss your possible redundancy or restructure;
  • consider your suggestions before they make any decision about their proposed changes; and
  • consider alternatives to making you redundant e.g. giving you a job elsewhere in the company or reducing the hours you work.

Check your Employment Agreement

What does it say about redundancy in your Employment Contract ?  You should always make sure you are familiar with the terms of the employment agreement. This will usually have specific provisions dealing with redundancy process and any entitlements.

Redundancy Payments

Under New Zealand law it is not compulsory for an Employer  to pay redundancy compensation.  Check Your Employment Agreement:
If your employment agreement mentions redundancy compensation, it will probably also show what the amount of comensation will be.  If there is no mention of the amount it could be up for negotiation. 

Notice of redundancy

If there is no specific clause in an employment agreement giving a period of notice in a redundancy situation, ‘reasonable notice’ must be given. The length of ‘reasonable notice’ depends on a variety of factors, such as:

  • the reason for the redundancy
  • the employee’s length of service
  • the employee’s seniority and/or remuneration package
  • custom, practice and industry norms
  • the employee’s ability to find alternative employment
  • the amount of compensation being paid (if any).

A ‘reasonable’ notice period is usually two weeks to a month.

If the redundancy is false and amounts to an unfair dismissal we can pursue a grievance on your behalf.

We can help you with all aspects of redundancy, if you are not sure give us a call 0800 669 466.
It’s free to discuss your situation with us.

From Our Clients

Thousands of employees and employers have trusted us us to help with their employment issues, here are reviews from a handful of them.

I was in a very difficult and sensitive situation

5.0 rating
September 30, 2019
Review of Kam Bailey

I was in a very difficult & sensitive work situation. After contacting a couple of other services with no reply it was Kam from Work law who took on my case & managed everything for me. I was kept well informed a long the way & Kam quickly reached a positive result for me & my employer, amazing!. I really appreciate the work Kam & the Work law team have done. Highly recommended ;0)

Christian McLay

Couldn't be happier with how it all worked out!

5.0 rating
September 24, 2019
Review of Andrea Kelleher

I was lucky enough to have help from Andrea, she was so polite, helpful and made sure that I understood certain aspects to what was going on with the work she helped me with. I couldn’t have asked for a more easier and awesome process, couldn’t be happier with how it all worked out! Thank you heaps! Daniel

Daniel Marinov

Sandy's an Angel

5.0 rating
September 9, 2019

I was having a terrible time at my workplace. Sandy was one of the angels that helped me survive the whole ordeal, she had all the knowledge and experience needed to help, got straight onto my employers and had things settled so quickly. I am very thankful.

Stephanie B

 

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Exploitation and Trafficking

People trafficking can be described as modern-day slavery

People trafficking involves the forced exploitation of a person and can take many forms, including being blackmailed or coerced into work, having to work as a condition of accommodation, and forced into prostitution. Trafficking victims are often deceived into believing that they are coming to a country for a legitimate purpose and then find themselves working in an industry they are not trained for and cannot escape from. For example, traffickers may advertise false or misleading job offers to recruit potential victims. Once in the country, their passport may be taken from them and their movements are restricted. They may not have access to authorities or public agencies. People trafficking often involves debt bondage, where people are forced to work for little or no money and under poor conditions to repay perceived debt. They are treated as commodities and profit is made from their ongoing exploitation.

If you are in an exploitative situation or you know someone who is, contact your local Police. The New Zealand Police and Immigration New Zealand are here to protect, not punish victims of crime.


Exploitation

Migrant workers have the same employment rights as all other workers in New Zealand.

Some employers do not treat their workers according to New Zealand employment law. Exploitation of migrants at work can take many forms. In the worst cases, employers force workers to work in some jobs such as sex work. In other cases exploitation at work may be serious underpayment of wages, being forced to work long hours for little or no pay, restrictions on freedom of movement, or threats against a migrant or their families. We can help you with any Exploitation and Trafficking  grievance you have with your employer and ensure that you receive the benefit and protection of New Zealand employment laws.

If your English is not easy to understand please complete our Client Information Sheet below to help us understand your case.  Then we will phone or email you.

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