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Terms

Seasonal Employee

A type of fixed-term employment where an employee agrees that the period of work will finish at the end of the season.

These types of employees are typically hired to fulfil a demand for work that is only available during a fixed season and once the season is over the employer no longer has a need for the workers. Some examples of seasonal work are picking fruit in the summer, or working at a ski resort during the snow season.

It is common for seasonal workers to be rehired for many years long after their initial stint.

Secondary Employment

Having more than one job by either working for another employer or running a business on the side.

An employer cannot prevent an employee from having a second job unless doing so would represent a conflict of interest to the business or place the health and safety of other employees at risk due to overworking.

If an employer wants to restrict the business activities of an employee, the request must be based on reasonable business grounds and compliant with Employment Law

Serious Misconduct

An act in the workplace that undermines the trust and confidence that the employer has in an employee. When this type of behaviour occurs an employer is often entitled to dismiss the employee without notice, following a disciplinary process.

Common examples of serious misconduct are theft, fraud, intoxication at work and assault, to name a few.

It is important that employers clearly explain to employees what kind of behaviour is and is not deemed serious misconduct in the workplace. This lowers the risk of miscommunication and unjustified dismissal claims being brought against the employer.

Sick Leave

Paid time off for an employee who is sick or needs to care for a sick spouse or partner, or any other person who is dependent on them.

An employee is entitled to five days’ sick leave after their first six months of continuous employment with the same employer, and another five days for each subsequent twelve-month period. Sick leave entitlement can accumulate up to 20 days.

Special Leave

On top of their normal parental leave entitlements, female employees who are pregnant can take up to 10 days of unpaid leave for pregnancy-related reasons. Common reasons to take this form of leave are to attend midwife appointments, medical screenings and antenatal classes, to name a few.

Special leave is recognised under the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987.

Stress Leave

Taking time off work to recover from stress. While stress leave is not an official leave entitlement, employees can request to take sick leave or negotiate with their employer to agree to an informal unpaid leave arrangement.

Workplace stress and fatigue pose a health and safety risk to employees. Therefore, employers should take reasonable steps to identify, manage and implement strategies to reduce the risk of stress in the workplace.

Summary Dismissal

Immediately ending the employment relationship with an employee who has performed serious misconduct.

In some circumstances, an act of serious misconduct may be serious enough to justify dismissing an employee without notice or payment. When this happens, the employee has to leave the workplace immediately.

Employees who are dismissed this way are still entitled to any leftover annual leave or other entitlements in their final pay.

Superannuation

A government-funded pension paid to eligible New Zealanders over the age of 65.

To be eligible for superannuation, residents must be over 65 years of age and have lived in New Zealand for at least 10 years since the age of 20 (five of those years must have been since the resident turned 50).

Many New Zealanders choose to take the DIY approach and put their savings into a retirement fund known as KiwiSaver. This means a small portion of an employee’s salary is deducted each pay day and put aside into a KiwiSaver investment account. Employers must also contribute at least 3% of an employee’s gross wage into the same KiwiSaver account.

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