This year sees more changes to our employment legislation. We have provided some updates below of changes to employment legislation that you need to take note and be aware of as they are quite significant and come in to play soon.


Domestic Violence Act

In mid-2018 the Domestic Violence Act passed its third reading and comes into effect on 1 April 2019 (10 weeks away). The amended Domestic Violence Act aims to enhance legal protections in the workplace for people affected by domestic violence.
The amendment to the bill amends other Acts including: The Domestic Violence Act 1995, Employment Relations Act 2000, Health and Safety at Word Act 2015, Holidays Act 2003, and the Human Rights Act 1993.

What does this mean for employees and employers?

  • The new law entitles employees affected by domestic violence up to 10 days of paid domestic violence leave per annum. The purpose of this leave is to deal with the effects of domestic violence.
  • Employees will be entitled to take this leave as required. The leave is taken in the same manner as sick leave and bereavement leave.

Employers will need to make a provision in their payroll system to account for and capture this leave. Along with this is a process of how someone who is impacted by domestic violence can apply for this particular leave. This is a sensitive area and we encourage employers to have some training and processes in place to assist your managers and leaders when supporting colleagues who are experiencing domestic violence. Under pinning these changes is a view to enhancing legal protection for victims of domestic violence and giving them a source of relief and assistance. If you are not sure how to approach the training, please do give me a call on 021 945594.


The Employment Relations Amendment Act

The Employment Relations Amendment Act 2018, passed in Parliament in December 2018, has the purpose to improve fairness in the workplace, deliver decent work conditions and fair wages. These amendments come into place on 6 May 2019.
The Act restores protections for employees, especially vulnerable employees, and strengthens the role of collective bargaining in the workplace. Many of the changes are familiar to businesses, as they roll the law back to how it was as recently as 2015.

The key changes include:

  • reinstating prescribed meal and rest breaks
  • strengthening collective bargaining and union rights
  • restoring protections for vulnerable workers, such as those in the cleaning and catering industries, regardless of the size of their employer
  • limiting 90-day trials to business with fewer than 20 employees.
  • Most changes take effect at two stages: ‘the day after Royal assent (Wednesday 12 December 2018), and on Monday 6 May 2019.

Depending on the size of your business, the 90 Day trial period will impact you the most unless you have union presence.


90 Day Trial Period

90-day trial periods will only apply to businesses with less than 20 employees and comes in to effect on 6 May. This change means the majority of employees will have protection against unjustified dismissal from when they start a job.

Businesses with 20 or more employees can continue to use probationary periods instead to assess an employee’s skills against the role’s responsibilities. A probationary period lays out a fair process for managing performance issues and ending employment if the issues aren’t resolved. Like the 90 Day Trial Period we would recommend that you have a robust process and provide training for your managers and leaders.

If you have 20 or more employees and currently have the 90-day trial period clause in your employment agreements, then I would recommend updating it with a probationary clause if you don’t have one. Again, we can provide training and assistance with this.


Minimum Wage

From 1 April the minimum wage moves to $17.70 per hour (an increase of $1.20). This is in line with what the Government have said with future increases of $1.20 and $1.10 to come in 2020 and 2021.

Again, these are some significant changes coming into effect that businesses and business owners need to be aware and prepare for.


Training and workshops

If you are unsure or need further advice and guidance around these changes, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with me and the team at Hello Monday. We can come and provide tailored workshops for your business to your leaders, managers and employees.

Call us on 09 3775200 or 021 945594 for Will Allan or email hello@hellmonday.co.nz or will@hellomonday.co.nz