Our lawyers keep up with the latest trends and issues in New Zealand law and business, and regularly publish articles and reports on current topics.

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An Overview of the Recent Fair Pay Act and Regulations

Written by Glenn Finnigan PARTNER on July 19th, 2023.    

The Fair Pay Act 2022 (the Act) came into force on 1 December 2022 following the issue of the Fair Pay Agreements Regulations (the Regulations) on 30 November 2022. This article will give a brief overview of the main updates relating to the Act, the Regulations and the process around fair pay agreements (FPAs).
Topics: Employment

Volunteers or Employees? Employment Court Determines Status of Gloriavale Residents

Written by Glenn Finnigan PARTNER on June 1st, 2022.    

A recent Employment Court decision declared former residents of the Gloriavale Community to be employees and not volunteers. The work they performed contained some useful insights into the approach the Courts take when determining the status of workers, and the traps for organisations receiving the benefit of work from people they consider to be volunteers.
Topics: Employment

Sick Leave Update

Written by Glenn Finnigan, PARTNER on August 2nd, 2021.    

As from 24 July 2021 employees’ minimum entitlement to sick leave under the Holidays Act 2003 increases from 5 to 10 days per annum. Employees are entitled to the extra five days at their next entitlement date.

Can employers force their employees to be vaccinated?

Written by Glenn Finnigan, PARTNER on May 7th, 2021.    

New Zealand employers still continue to face challenging issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the focus for employers in 2020 was coping with lockdowns and changing Alert levels, the vaccination rollout in New Zealand has created a new set of nuanced issues for employers to grapple with.

Health and Safety - WorkSafe decision

Written by Glenn Finnigan, PARTNER on November 16th, 2020.    

A recent WorkSafe New Zealand sentencing decision highlights the high cost of mismanaging health and safety when having work done.

Employment Law and the NZ General Election 2020

Written by Glenn Finnigan, PARTNER on October 8th, 2020.    

Workplace relations policy often becomes a political football around election time with parties towards the “left” of the political spectrum ordinarily promoting enhanced workers rights vs. the more “right” leaning parties being more concerned with business interests. With advance voting now having opened, we examine some of the parties’ plans for reforming the employment laws.

Employment Article - Managing Drugs and Alcohol in the Workplace

Written by Glenn Finnigan, PARTNER on September 22nd, 2020.    

The management of drugs and alcohol in workplaces is not only an important health and safety issue for industry sectors such as construction and forestry, but is important for all workplaces.

Employment Article - August 2020

Written by Glenn Finnigan, PARTNER on August 26th, 2020.    

The aftermath to the first COVID-19 lockdown in April has seen a number of redundancy cases being taken to the Employment Relations Authority. The decisions on these cases are beginning to be released and the overarching theme to date is that the existence of a pandemic such as COVID-19 will not excuse an employer from adhering to their core obligations when dealing with potential redundancies.

Pass the Parcel: Employment Court decision delivers warning for owner drivers

Written by Glenn Finnigan, PARTNER on May 28th, 2020.    

Courier drivers have long been categorised by the Courts as contractors and not employees, largely due to industry practice. The Employment Court recently reconsidered how owner drivers in the courier sector were to be classified in the case of Leota v Parcel Express Limited. Mr Leota was a driver who provided courier services to Parcel Express Limited under an agreement which identified the arrangement as a contract for services. Although the Court said the decision related to the specific facts of Mr Leota’s relationship with Parcel Express Limited, the decision to declare him an employee may set precedent for other owner drivers, especially those operating under a similar model and contract to that used by Parcel Express.
Topics: Employment

Responding to COVID-19: A Business Guide

Written by Darryl King PARTNER; David Alizade PARTNER; Glenn Finnigan PARTNER; Mark Sullivan PARTNER; Caroline Harris PARTNER; Kelly Seabourne PARTNER on March 24th, 2020.    

As COVID-19 spreads and the number of cases around the world climbs, businesses need to take definitive action now to address what is shaping up to be the most significant challenge for some time.

Coronavirus and Employment

Written by Glenn Finnigan, PARTNER on March 23rd, 2020.    

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has dominated world headlines in 2020 and is likely to do so for some time to come. New Zealand is not immune from the effects of the virus and just this week the Government announced a $12.1 billion stimulus package to assist employers and the wider economy in coping with the impact of the virus. COVID-19 brings with it a range of employment law issues that employers should turn their mind to as soon as possible.
Topics: Employment

Legal update: Government foreshadows changes to contractors' rights

Written by Glenn Finnigan, PARTNER on February 17th, 2020.    

The Government has released a consultation document which tries to address the long-standing issue of “misclassifying” employees as contractors. This sometimes occurs because employers are ignorant of what constitutes a true principal/contractor relationship under the law.  However sometimes it occurs as a deliberate attempt to deprive workers of key employment rights.
Topics: Employment

When is "full and final" actually final?

Written by Glenn Finnigan, PARTNER on August 12th, 2019.    

Until recently, the finality of section 149 settlement agreements has been left largely untouched by the Employment Relations Authority, and Courts have been reluctant to set aside settlement agreements unless one of the parties was considered to lack the legal capacity to enter into an agreement.
The recent case of Bagley v Deloitte Limited [2019] has broadened the circumstances in which the validity of these agreements can be challenged. It sets a potentially concerning precedent that employers should be wary of.
Topics: Employment

Stop press! New domestic violence leave soon to come into force

Written by Glenn Finnigan, PARTNER on February 20th, 2019.    

The Domestic Violence – Victims Protection Act 2018 was passed into law last year and comes into force on 1 April 2019. Businesses should be aware it has significant impacts in the employment sphere and there are numerous amendments to the Employment Relations Act and Holidays Act as a result of its passing.
Topics: Employment

The bare minimum: Minimum entitlements under the microscope

Written by Glenn Finnigan, PARTNER on February 18th, 2019.    

The Labour Inspectorate has announced a renewed focus on breaches of minimum employment standards for employees. Towards the end of last year the Inspectorate announced that Antares Restaurant Group (operator of Burger King restaurants in New Zealand) had been placed on MBIE’s stand-down list of employers who have breached employment legislation and are not allowed to recruit migrant workers or support working VISA applications. The Burger King case should serve as a timely reminder for businesses to ensure they are complying with employment laws and are not knowingly or unknowingly breaching (or involved in breaching) an employee’s minimum entitlements.

Topics: Employment

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