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Are you up to date with employment regulations

Kathie’s Korner Employment changes.

Some of you may be aware that there have been recent changes to the Employment regulations. As I always like to keep abreast of business changes I recently attended a seminar held by Employsure in regard to employment and some of these changes. It is important to note any changes in legislation and review this against your current employment contracts and conditions to make sure you are not open to any complaints or claims against you.

The main points were.

 

  • Minimum wage increased in April 2019
  1. Adult minimum wage $17.70
  2. The starting-out and training hourly minimum wages rates increase from $13.20 to $14.16 per hour – remaining at 80 per cent of the adult minimum wage.
  3. Under 16 there is no minimum wage but strict criteria around health and Safety issues. EG: not allowed to work after 10pm.

The minimum wage is also expected to increase to $18.90 on 1-4-2020 and $20 on 1-4-2021

 

  • Introduction of Domestic Violence leave.

Domestic violence is also known as family violence. It means all forms of violence in family and intimate relationships. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual or psychological abuse.The Domestic Violence – Victims’ Protection Act adds legal protections in the workplace for people affected by domestic violence.

New rights for employees

The Act gives employees affected by domestic violence the right to:

take at least 10 days of paid domestic violence leave. This is separate from annual leave, sick leave and bereavement leave. See Domestic violence leave rights and responsibilities.

  • ask for short-term flexible working arrangements. This can be for up to 2 months. See Short-term flexible working.
  • not be treated adversely in the workplace because they might have experienced domestic violence. This is discrimination. It does not matter when the domestic violence took place. Employees still have these rights if they experienced domestic violence before they began working for their current employer or before the law changed on 1 April 2019.

Who can get domestic violence leave: Employees who have been affected by domestic violence can take paid domestic violence leave if:

  • they have worked for their employer for at least 6 months.
  • in those 6 months they have worked for at least an average of 10 hours a week. During this time, they must have worked at least either:
    • 1 hour each week or
    • 40 hours each month.

 

  • Meal Breaks and Timing

Prior to 6 May 2019, the law requires that employees receive a reasonable opportunity to take paid rest and unpaid meal breaks that are of an appropriate duration for the employee’s work period, without specifying the number, duration and position of the breaks within the work day. From 6 May 2019, the Act requires that employees have set rest and meal breaks, so that they have time to rest, refresh and attend to personal matters. The number and duration of breaks will depend on the hours worked. Breaks benefit workplaces by making sure that employees work safely and productively. Employers must pay for minimum rest breaks but don’t have to pay for minimum meal breaks. Employers and employees need to agree when to take their breaks. If they cannot agree, the law will require the breaks to be taken at times as specified in the Act, so long as it’s reasonable and practicable.

When do the breaks need to be taken? The employer and employee can agree when the rest and meal breaks are to be taken. Both employers and employees have an obligation to act in good faith when negotiating timing for breaks.

 

Length and timing of Breaks.

Length of

employee’s

work period

 

Minimum number of rest

and/or meal breaks

 

If the employer and employee cannot agree to

the timing of breaks, an employer must provide

breaks at the following times, so far as is

reasonable and practicable.

 

2.00 - 4.00

hours

 

1 x 10 minute paid rest break

In the middle of the work period

 

4.01 - 6.00

hours

 

1 x 10 minute paid rest break

 

 

1 x 30 minute unpaid meal

break

 

One-third of the way through the work period

 

Two-thirds of the way through the work period

 

6.01 - 10.00

hours

 

1 x 10 minute paid rest break

 

 

 

1 x 30 minute unpaid meal

Break

 

 

1 x 10 minute paid rest break

Halfway between the start of work and the meal

break

 

In the middle of the work period

 

 

Halfway between the meal break and the finish

of the work period

 

 

10.01 – 12

hours

break

 

1 x 10 minute paid rest break

 

 

 

1 x 30 minute unpaid meal

break

 

1 x 10 minute paid rest break

 

 

 

1 x 10 minute paid rest

Halfway between the start of work and the meal

break

 

In the middle of the first 8 hours of work

 

Halfway between the meal break and the end of

the first 8 hours of work

 

Halfway between the end of the first 8 hours of

work and the end of the work period

 

If you require any further information you can refer to

  1. your solicitor.
  2. A employment specialist company such as Employsure
  3. The government websites: https://www.employment.govt.nz

The government website also has a handy tool for building your employment contracts.

As always I am happy to answer any questions you may have.

Email: [email protected] Phone 021979249

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