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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Failing to recognise the correct status of an employee can result in not providing them with their correct entitlements. This was an expensive mistake one employer came to discover recently.
Businesses may be aware that change is in the air as the coalition Government’s Employment Relations Amendment Bill (“ERAB”) makes its way through Parliament. The Education and Workforce Select Committee have recently completed their analysis of the Bill and have recommended it be passed into law, with a few tweaks made. Here are ten key points you should be aware of.
The Government has release its plans for reform of the employment laws. A summary of the areas where changes will be happening are attached.