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Staying Off The Stand Down List

Published September 7, 2018 (last updated on May 15, 2024) | Adam Wyatt - Copywriter and Content Creator


Staying Off The Stand Down List

The latest version of the NZ Government’s Stand Down List contains some of the country’s biggest employers and most recognisable brands.

The list, which is updated weekly, publicly names and shames employers failing to meet their employment obligations.

It begs the question: If some of New Zealand’s most high-profile and well-resourced businesses can be caught in the Stand Down list, what exactly can small business owners do to avoid the same fate?

Here are some fool-proof ways to make sure you’re meeting your employer obligations, and can keep your business name off the Stand Down list:

Pay Your Staff Correctly

Many of the employers named in the Stand Down List arrive there due to underpayments. Incorrectly paying staff is the fastest way to earn the ire of the Government and employment regulators, so it’s essential to make sure you’re always paying the correct rates to your staff. The current minimum wage in New Zealand is set at $16.50 per hour, and is updated annually. Workplace relations and Safety Minister, Iain Lees-Galloway, has also indicated the government’s intention to increase the minimum wage to $20 an hour by 2021, so always be up-to-date with your pay and salary obligations as they will continue changing.

Need more advice on pay rates? Download our free resources

Provide a Safe Workplace

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, employers must take all reasonable and practical steps to reduce the risk of work related injuries through risk assessment, education, and stopping unsafe work practices. Employers who fail in their safety obligations may face investigation and steep fines, in addition to being shamed on the Stand Down List.

In 2016, the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) received a total of 50,000 work related claims for lifting, carrying and strain injuries, making manual handling one of the leading causes of injuries in the workplace.

To make sure you’re providing a safe workplace for staff, stick to the four fundamental elements of work health and safety:

  • Identify hazards in the workplace that may harm workers

  • Create and implement a written policy with clear guidelines about what is expected from all parties. This policy should be signed and dated by the employer, and be easily available to employees at all times. For example, display it around the workplace on noticeboards

  • Include staff in consultation about safety in the workplace to increase awareness of safety issues and improve the safety culture in the workplace

  • Manage hazards

Also complete a risk assessment that assesses any possible situation that could happen in the workplace. Things like employees using a ladder to access objects from a height, or electrical cords running down a hallway should be considered a risk and minimised as much as possible.

Learn more about your H&S Obligations here

Meet Your Equal Opportunity Obligations

All businesses in New Zealand are legally obligated to provide equal opportunity to all people of different backgrounds, beliefs and attitudes.

An organisation built on respect for people of different backgrounds, beliefs, attitudes, and equal opportunity is not only the right thing to do – it is also the law.

Discrimination in the workplace not only has a negative impact on people’s lives, it also impacts employee satisfaction and overall productivity. In New Zealand, there are equal opportunity laws to manage discrimination in the workplace.

The Human Rights Act 1993 (HRA) and the Employment Relations Act 2000 (ERA) help to ensure all workplaces are safe and fair. Both acts cover the many forms of discrimination in regards to sexual harassment, employment, and unjust treatment in the workplace. While the policies mainly protect employees, they also go beyond to protect job applicants, contractors and people associated with them such as friends, family and carers.

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