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Important Update to Shift Cancellations

Published August 03, 2016 (last updated December 7, 2020) -

There have been recent changes made to the law relating to shift cancellations. These changes came into effect on 1 April 2016 and will affect a number of employers.

Essentially, the changes mean employers are not legally entitled to cancel an employee’s shift unless:

  • there is a clause in the employment agreement which states the employer may cancel an employee’s shift if necessary
  • the clause specifies the notice the employer will give the employee if a shift is to be cancelled
  • the clause specifies the amount of compensation which will be paid to the employee, should the employee’s shift be cancelled

If an employer has not included the appropriate clause in the employment agreement and needs to cancel a shift, the employer will need to pay the affected employee the amount they would have earned had they worked the shift.

It is important to note, that if an employee turns up for their rostered/scheduled shift, then it is too late to rely on the clause and the employee must either be offered alternative work to do or receive full pay for the shift as if they had worked.

Clients should seek to negotiate with employees prior to cancelling a shift. For example, an employee may be willing to swap shifts.

Finally, it is important to remember that regardless of any shift cancellation compensation paid or notice given, an employee must be offered the minimum amount of hours guaranteed in their employment agreement. If not, they must be paid for these hours regardless of whether or not they worked.

Employsure is here to help you if you have any questions relating to shift cancellations, or require further clarification. Our advice line is available day or night, so call us today on  0800 568 012.

About Employsure

Employsure is one of New Zealand’s largest workplace relations advisers to small and medium businesses, with over 5,500 clients. We take the complexity out of workplace legislation to help small business employers protect their business and their people.

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