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Glossary

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Terms

90-Day Trial Period

Before committing to hire permanently, an employer is allowed to trial a new employee for up to the first 90 days of their employment. This arrangement must be agreed to in writing before the employee starts their first day of work.

Trial periods are an effective way to find out if a new employee is capable of doing the job and a good fit for the company. All employees on a trial period are entitled to the same minimum employment rights as permanent employees.

If the employer is not happy with the arrangement they can dismiss the employee. The employee cannot bring a personal grievance or unfair dismissal claim against the employer if reasonable notice was given.

Abandonment of Employment

When an employee is absent from work for several days without explanation. This often means the employee has abandoned the job and does not intend on coming back, or they have simply disappeared and the employer does not know where they are.

Employers must make an effort to contact the employee and their family members. This means making phones calls to different people, sending emails and leaving messages. Once all avenues have been exhausted, a letter notifying the employee of their potential dismissal should be sent.

If the employee had a good reason for being absent (e.g. medically unwell), an employer cannot dismiss the employee on the grounds of abandonment.

Absenteeism

Not being present at work for a prolonged period of time without warning or explanation. There are many reasons why an employee might be absent from work and it is the employer’s job to find out why and offer a solution. It could be a work-related issue such as bullying, harassment or stressful working conditions, or a deeper underlying problem outside of the workplace.

If an absent employee is dismissed, the employer could be investigated by the Employment Relations Authority and they will need to prove they made an effort to contact the employee.

Accident Compensation Act 2001

Legislation that sets out the guidelines for employers to follow so they can effectively manage and prevent work-related accidents.

The act provides a framework to help businesses reduce the risk and severity of work-related injuries, provide support to aid the recovery of injured employees, and maintain records of all injury-related information such as incident reports, claimant interactions and medical bills.

Accident Record

All workplace accidents—no matter how minor or seemingly insignificant—must be documented and carefully reviewed. This applies to not just permanent employees but also contractors, visitors, customers and the general public.

Accident records give businesses the information they need to find out the cause of an accident and take the necessary steps to prevent it from happening again. To meet legislative requirements, an accident report must have detailed information about the accident, personal information about the employee, and the extent of their illness or injury.

Serious accidents must be reported to WorkSafe New Zealand to be investigated.

Adoption Related Leave

When an employee takes time off work to become the primary responsible carer for an adopted child under six years of age. Eligible employees can take up to 18 weeks of adoption related leave with permission from their employer.

To be eligible, employees must be employed (it does not have to be the same employer) at least an average of 10 hours per week for at least 26 weeks before the expected date of adoption.

Both the employee and employer must agree in writing on the start and end date of when the leave will take place. Just like parental leave, employees must give reasonable notice before they go on leave.

Affirmative Action

The concept of promoting equal employment opportunities and fair wages in the workplace, particularly for minorities and women who have each faced decades of discrimination in the past.

Encouraging diversity in the workplace is not just ethical, but also good for business. Organisations with a diverse team may benefit from a more positive image and attract a larger pool of talented candidates from different backgrounds.

Employers are encouraged to have an affirmative action plan that is specific to the needs of their workplace.

Agency and Temporary Staff

Employees who agree to work on a fixed-term agreement until a project is completed, an event has occurred or a peak season has ended.

These kinds of staff give employers the flexibility to hire only when they need certain tasks done. They can be hired directly or from an employment agency that provides staff with specialist skills.

Agency and temporary staff are entitled to the same minimum employment rights as permanent employees.

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