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Ask a Specialist: Can My Employees Work a Second Job?

Published April 06, 2017 (last updated November 19, 2020) -

It is not uncommon for employees to work more than one job, in addition to the full-time role they have with your company. The concern for employers should be, how does this impact safety in my workplace? There may be other concerns such as commercially sensitive information, and conflicts of interest, and in a similar manner to managing safety these issues can be addressed with effective policies being in place.

Regardless of whether you are the business in which an employee works full-time or not, there are obligations on employees before they start a job in addition to the role they have with you. Employees should not act in a misleading or deceptive way, they should maintain confidentiality in all workplaces, and manage their workload to ensure it does not impact their performance. There are concerns around safety also and employees have an obligation to take reasonable care that their additional hours of work do not place other people in the workplace at risk.

A good policy around secondary employment can be a helpful step, however some employers wish to write secondary employment clauses into their employment agreement. To do this, you need to have a good reason. A good reason can be something like protecting commercially sensitive information, or preventing any genuine conflict of interest that cannot be managed any other way.

On 1 April 2016, the Employment Relations Amendment Act came into effect to somewhat change the obligations of employers. Safety in the workplace remains a paramount concern but this Act prevents employers from restricting secondary employment for employees without a genuine reason. As a result of this legislation change, employers should be aware to not restrict employees more than is necessary and are encouraged to look at particular cases instead of blanket restrictions on secondary employment.

So while secondary employment can be a concern for employers for safety reasons, it is important that you consider the broader impact and all the potential risks of having employees working additional jobs and how you intend to manage this risk.

For advice call Employsure on 0800 568 012.

About Employsure

Employsure is one of New Zealand’s largest workplace relations advisers to small and medium businesses, with over 5,000 clients. We take the complexity out of workplace legislation to help small business employers protect their business and their people.

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