The Privacy Act 2020

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privacy act

The Privacy Act 2020 governs how organisations can collect, store, use and share your information.

The Privacy Act 2020 came into effect on 1 December 2020, replacing the Privacy Act 1993. The Act has Privacy Codes of Practice that have privacy rules for personal information in specific areas such as health, telecommunications, and credit reporting.

The Privacy Act for employers

The Privacy Act has 13 privacy principles that govern how businesses should collect, handle and use personal information.

The principles are:

  • Principle 1- Purpose for collection
  • Principle 2- Source of information- collection from the individual
  • Principle 3- What to tell the individual about collection
  • Principle 4- Manner of collection
  • Principle 5- Storage and security of information
  • Principle 6- Providing people access to their information
  • Principle 7- Correction of personal information
  • Principle 8- Ensure accuracy before using information
  • Principle 9- Limits on retention of personal information
  • Principle 10- Use of personal information
  • Principle 11- Disclosing personal information
  • Principle 12- Disclosure outside New Zealand
  • Principle 13- Unique identifiers

The role of the Privacy Commissioner

The administration of the Privacy Act 2020 falls to the Privacy Commissioner and requires a number of key tasks to be overseen. For employers, the key responsibility that may bring the Commissioner into your workplace is the investigation of complaints on privacy breaches. Thinking of the examples above, if an employee becomes aware that their data has been shared or is being managed poorly you may expect a visit or a phone call from the Privacy Commissioner.

The office of the Privacy Commissioner can’t force organisations to pay employees money, issue fines, force either party to accept a settlement offer, or force anyone to accept their findings. Their role is to determine if there is a breach in the Act and to facilitate a resolution between the parties.

Privacy policies in your workplace can limit the involvement of the Commissioner in your workplace, and can also help employees feel more confident in your management. For help with policies to improve privacy in your workplace call Employsure on 0800 568 012.

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