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Terms

Parental Leave

Parental leave is available to an employee who takes time off work to care for a newborn or a child under the age of six for whom the employee has assumed permanent responsibility. The different types of paid and unpaid parental leave are primary carer leave, special leave, partner’s leave, extended leave and negotiated carer leave.

In New Zealand, all employees are entitled to a minimum of up to 26 weeks of parental leave, as long as they meet the six or twelve month criteria. This entitlement covers female employees who are having a baby, and spouses or partners who will be the primary carer of a newborn or a child under six years of age.

An employment agreement can offer more generous parental leave entitlements if agreed upon by the employer.

Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987

Government legislation that provides equal rights for paid and unpaid parental leave. The act clearly sets out the criteria employees have to meet to be eligible for parental leave. It also provides job protection for employees before, during and after they take parental leave.

For employers, the act sets out the guidelines employers and employees must follow when negotiating on the provisions of parental leave. This includes the start and end time of the parental leave, whether the leave will be paid or unpaid, and how well the job is protected during and after parental leave.

Parental Leave Eligibility

In New Zealand, an employee has to meet the six or twelve month criteria to be eligible for parental leave.

Six month criteria: The employee has to have been employed by the same employer for at least an average of at least 10 hours in the six months before the baby’s due date or the date the employee becomes the primary carer of a child under six years of age.

Twelve month criteria: The employee has to have been employed by the same employer for at least an average of at least 10 hours in the twelve months before the baby’s due date or the date the employee becomes the primary carer of a child under six years of age.

Partner’s Leave

When a spouse or partner takes time off work to either care for a newborn child their partner gave birth to, or become the primary carer of a child under six years of age on a permanent basis.

An employee can take partner’s leave within a certain time frame: 1) 21 days before the due date of the baby, or the date they will become the primary carer of a child under six years of age or 2) 21 days after the baby is born, or the date they become the primary carer of a child under six years of age.

Pay Deduction

The lawful deduction of an employee’s pay. Only under strict circumstances can an employer deduct pay from their workers and the correct procedure must be followed.

An employer can legally deduct the pay of an employee if: the deduction is required by law (e.g. child support, student loan repayments); the employee has agreed to the deduction in writing; they are able to recover an overpayment; or a court orders the deduction to be made.

Unlawful deduction of an employee’s pay can result in action from the Employment Relations Authority.

Performance Improvement Plan (PIP)

An assessment tool designed to help employees improve their performance or behaviour in the workplace. The purpose of a PIP is to motivate struggling employees—not a means to start the termination process.

Each plan should focus on improving the performance or behaviour of an employee by giving them clear, easy-to-reach milestones. The plan can be drafted with help from supervisors and HR.

Monitoring progress and reviewing the plan is essential to helping employees reach their optimal performance.

Performance Management

Monitoring and reviewing the performance of employees, departments and organisations to find out if they are meeting specific milestones and the long-term objectives of the business.

Good performance management is a combination of planning, checking in and reviewing. This process is an ongoing cycle that involves constant supervision and guidance over a long period of time.

As the needs of the business change, so do the objectives and it is important that employers keep all workers informed on the expectations of their job and how their performance relates to the overall success of the business.

Personal Grievance

A formal complaint that an employee brings against a current or former employer. It is usually the next step to resolving an issue if informal discussions and mediation do not fix the problem.

Employees can raise a personal grievance claim for a number of reasons, for example, unjustified dismissal, discrimination or harassment. A personal grievance claim must be raised within 90 days of when the problem occurred or when the employee became aware of the problem. For unfair dismissal claims, the claim must be submitted within 90 days of the employee being dismissed.

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