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Terms

Casual Employment

An undefined term in employment legislation, where the employee has no guarantee of work hours, a regular pattern of work, or even the guarantee of future employment. Casual employees have the freedom to accept or refuse any work that comes their way.

Casual employees are entitled to the same minimum employment rights as permanent employees. But the way in which they are entitled to annual, sick and bereavement leave can vary.

Change Management

Preparing employees for a crucial change in the business. Common changes to a business include changing how a task is performed, the switching or reduction of roles, adopting new technology and changes to upper management.

Some employees may be resistant to change and it is important that employers collaborate with all staff to make sure the process goes smoothly. Employers should be transparent about the process and clearly explain why the change is necessary, what people can expect from the change and the long-term benefits it may offer.

Depending on the size of the company, this process can be undertaken on an individual or organisational basis or a combination of both.

Clean Slate Act 2004

Allows an employee with certain minor convictions to move on from the past and not have their chances of employment limited. This means if a person meets the criteria for the Clean Slate scheme their minor convictions are automatically concealed and they are deemed to have no criminal record.

Under the Clean Slate Act 2004 an employer cannot force a potential candidate to reveal minor convictions from seven years ago or longer that did not lead to jail time. Employers do have options to confirm this information but they must get written permission from the candidate first.

Collective Agreement

A formal agreement between one or more employers and a registered union that covers the rights of employees in the workplace.

Unlike an individual agreement, where the employer and employee negotiate the terms of the agreement, employees are represented by a registered union who use their bargaining power to reach a fair and reasonable agreement on their behalf. Common areas that are negotiated include wages, entitlements, hours and working conditions, to name a few.

Collective agreements must be agreed to in writing and signed by all employers and unions covered by the agreement. An employer can offer individual terms to an employee before or after the date the employee signed the collective agreement.

Collective Bargaining

Negotiating on the setup or renewal of a collective agreement. This process takes place between one or more employers and the union representing the staff who work for those employers. The result of these negotiations is the establishment of the terms of employment for a set number of years.

Collective bargaining involves negotiating on a number of short-term and long-term issues and deciding how to proceed under the best circumstances. The Employment Relations Act 2000 sets out the rules and guidelines to follow at each stage of collective bargaining and ensures the process is carried out in good faith from start to finish.

Commission

Payment given to an employee based on the number of sales they have earned. The amount of commission an employee earns depends on the value of each sale and the percentage of the sale the employee gets in return.

Employees who are paid solely on commission typically earn a higher percentage per sale compared to employees who are paid an hourly wage or salary on top of commissions. Regardless of how an employee earns commission, they must still at least get the minimum working wage.

Confidentiality Agreement

Where one or more parties agree to keep shared information private and only use it within the terms of the agreement. The purpose of a confidentiality agreement is to establish trust between all parties involved and prevent private information from being misused, such as leaked to the public or used for competitive gain.

Confidentiality agreements are used for a number of business scenarios. For example, the potential buyer of a company may have to sign a confidentiality agreement before they can assess the company’s assets and liabilities.

Constructive Dismissal

This is where the employee feels they have no choice but to resign. The three broad categories of this are where the employer gives an employee a choice between resigning or being dismissed, where the employer deliberately acts in a way aimed at pressuring the employee to resign or the employer has acted so badly that the employee feels he or she cannot remain in the job.

If the employee has a strong case, constructive dismissal may be grounds for a personal grievance claim.

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