Key Changes to NZ Employment Law – Are You Ready?

The Employment Relations Amendment Act 2014 came into effect on 6 March 2015. Here are some of the key day-to-day changes:

1. Flexible working arrangements:

  • Employees have a statutory right to request flexible working arrangements that were previously confined to care givers.
  • Employees can ask for flexible working arrangements from their first day on the job and as many times as they want.
  • Employees can make as many requests as they want.
  • Employers must respond to a request within 1 month, in writing and explain any refusal.

2. Rest and meal breaks:

  • General rights replace strict rules for employee rest and meal breaks.
  • Employers can make reasonable restrictions on rest and meal breaks.
  • Employers must provide reasonable compensation where they cannot reasonably give breaks – the employer cannot fail to give either.
  • Rest breaks must be paid.
  • Any other law requiring breaks takes priority over the Act.

3. Negotiating in good faith:

  • Employers and employees are encouraged to negotiate in good faith regarding flexible working arrangements and meal and rest breaks.
  • Employers must give an employee relevant information where they are proposing to make a decision that will or is likely to have an adverse effect on the continuation of that employee’s employment i.e. during a restructure or sale of a business.

If you have any questions or would like to take steps to comply please call 04 472 9632 or email richard.chiu@slaw.co.nz

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