• Email Usage Policy

    A policy that outlines the terms and conditions of using email in the workplace, clearly telling employees what is, and most importantly what is not acceptable.

    An email usage policy includes information such as the potential risks of misusing email, prohibited content, treatment of confidential data, how email is monitored and stored in the workplace, and the consequences of breaching the policy.

  • Employee Handbook

    A handbook is given to employees by an employer. Employee handbooks are a useful resource for employees as they provide information about the company’s policies, workplace culture, code of conduct, procedures and basic explanations of employment law.

    Employee handbooks are not required by law. But they are popular among employers because they help to clarify the expectations of the employee and reduce the risk of misunderstandings. An employee handbook is also a great way to introduce new employees to the way things are done in the workplace.

  • Employment Contract

    Also known as an ‘employment agreement’, an employment contract is an agreement between an employer and employee about the terms and conditions of employment. Every employee must have their own written employment contract, whether it be an individual agreement or collective agreement.

    An employment contract cannot offer less than the legal minimum rights (i.e. wages, benefits and safe working conditions) or trade off the minimum rights for other things. Depending on the type of agreement and employee, the terms and conditions of the contract may be negotiated in good faith with help from a union member.

  • Employment Court

    If an employer or employee is unhappy with the decision reached by the Employment Relations Authority (ERA), either side may be able to challenge the decision in Employment Court.

    A challenge must be submitted to Employment Court within 28 days of the ERA reaching their decision. If the application is successful, both parties will be required to exchange relevant forms, attend a formal hearing process and pay the legal fees.

    An employer or employee can choose to represent themselves or seek legal advice from a lawyer, union member or employment advocate.

  • Employment Law

    An area of law that governs the employer-employee relationship and covers the minimum rights, obligations and responsibilities of all workers from health and safety to wages, discrimination and unfair dismissal. Employment law is made up of different legislation acts which are applied by the Employment Relations Authority and the Employment Court.

    Notable legislation acts include the Employment Relations Act 2000, Human Rights Act 1993 and the Equal Pay Act 1972. Employers should have a good understanding of the acts relevant to their business to avoid workplace accidents, unfair dismissal claims and personal grievance claims.

  • Employment Relations Act 2000

    The main legislation that governs the employment relationship between employers, employees and union members. The act promotes the concepts of good faith and fairness in all aspects of the employment relationship from negotiating collective and individual agreements, resolving workplace disputes and governing personal grievance claims.

    The act also established the Employment Relations Authority and Employment Court and is the leading legislation to enforce all minimum employment rights.

  • Employment Relations Authority (ERA)

    An independent organisation that resolves employment relationship problems. If an employment relationship problem cannot be resolved internally or with help from an independent mediator, the ERA can review and determine the outcome of the case.

    The ERA resolves a number of employment relationship problems such as unjustified dismissal, unpaid wages and the breach of employment agreements. If either party is unhappy with the decision the ERA reaches, they can take the matter further to Employment Court.

  • Entitlement to Work

    Prior to hiring a new employee, it is the employer’s responsibility to confirm the new employee is legally allowed to work in New Zealand.

    To find out if a potential candidate is a legal worker, the employer must get permission from the candidate to check their visa status. Candidates do not need a valid visa to be offered a job, but they must have one that confirms they are legally allowed to work in New Zealand from the start date of employment.

    If an employer knowingly hires an illegal worker, they could be forced to pay a fine of up to $10,000 NZD.

  • Equal Opportunity

    Giving all staff and workers an equal chance in the workplace without discrimination against their background, disability or personal characteristics.

    In New Zealand, employment law prevents workers from being discriminated against or treated unfairly based on their age, sex, race, skin colour, religious or political beliefs, marital status, educational background, employment status or disability.

    Employers are required by law to create a workplace that accepts employees from a wide range of backgrounds. Besides this, equal opportunity also makes smart business sense, as it can help diversify the skillset of the business, improve brand reputation and increase staff loyalty.

  • Equal Pay Act 1972

    Legislation that prevents the unlawful payment of wages to employees based on their sex.

    Under the Equal Pay Act both men and women in the same or similar positions must have equal entitlement to the same wage, working conditions, benefits and opportunities for training, promotion and transfers. This means men and women who do equal work should receive equal pay.

    If an employer does not comply with the Equal Pay Act, the business may be subject to an audit and face penalties from the Employment Relations Authority.

  • Exit Interview

    An opportunity for the company to gain honest feedback from a departing employee. The purpose of an exit interview is to find out why the employee is leaving, what they liked about working for the company and what can be improved.

    Exit interviews are voluntary and can be done in person, over the phone or online as a survey. It is best to have a neutral person who is not affiliated with the employee to conduct the interview, as they will likely be more open and honest with their answers.

  • Expense Claim

    Money spent on food, travel and other expenses by an employee while they are doing their job. To be reimbursed by an employer, the employee must have spent their own money and the expense must be directly related to them earning an income. The employee must also have a proof of purchase for each expense, whether it be a receipt, bank statement or other transaction record.

    Employers should have a reimbursement of expense policy, which clearly tells employees the kind of spending that is and is not covered by the company. Expense claims can be made in person or submitted and created online with accounting software.

  • Extended Leave

    Unpaid leave which an employee is entitled to when taking responsibility to care for a child under six years old. An employee who meets the six-month criteria may take up to 52 weeks extended leave (less the number of weeks of primary carer leave taken) and an employee who meets the 12-month criteria may take up to 26 weeks extended leave (less the number of weeks of primary carer leave taken).

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