Employment, immigration and health & safety updates

Fair Pay Agreement Plan Announced
7 May 21

After much anticipation, the Government has finally announced today how it proposes the Fair Pay Agreement (FPA) system in New Zealand will work. FPAs are a set of terms and conditions of employment for an occupational group or industry sector, and the announcement today confirms FPAs ...

Employee vaccination not black and white
27 Apr 21

Column written by Dunedin Partner John Farrow, published in the business section of the Otago Daily Times on Tuesday 27 April 2021. Both the rolling out of Covid-19 vaccines and the opening of the Australasian bubble have created some complex issues for employers. The general ...

Good Faith Obligations to Visa Holders
22 Apr 21

John Farrow, Partner at Anderson Lloyd, shares a detailed case note of Gill v Restaurant Brands Limited, where an employee was dismissed for lack of a valid visa. In this article, John highlights new complexities due to COVID-19, and the importance of  employers to communicate ...

Anderson Lloyd named as 5-Star Employment Law Firm by HRD
14 Apr 21

This article was published on the HRD website on Wednesday 14 April. As New Zealand's business climate changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the country’s top employment law firms are keeping their fingers on the pulse of organisations that are confronting new workplace challenges. ...

Education Law Series Part 3: Dealing with Employment Issues
26 Mar 21

Column written by Senior Associate Fi McMillan and published on the Legalwise website on Thursday 25 March as part of her series on the NZPF Principals’ Advice and Support Scheme, which provides employment advice to school principals across New Zealand.  In Part 3, Fi continues ...

Selling your business? When to tell your employee – the art of consultation
24 Mar 21

Without question, the number one issue that challenges employers when they sell their business is the question of when to consult. Employers will often ask at what point do my employees need to be informed. That question is usually quickly followed by how long can ...

NZ Uber drivers contractors not employees
23 Mar 21

The case of Arachchige v Rasier New Zealand Ltd & Uber B.V. confirms Uber is not required to give über (or even minimum, for that matter) employment entitlements to its drivers. In December 2020 the Employment Court issued a judgment which considered whether or not ...

Holidays Act to be overhauled
23 Mar 21

The Government has accepted recommendations to make the Holidays Act clearer and provide greater certainty to employers and employees. Following a joint request from employers and unions, the Government established a Taskforce to suggest improvements to the Holidays Act 2003 (the Act). Although the Taskforce ...

Penalties awarded against employment advocates for breaches of confidentiality
23 Mar 21

The Employment Court reinforces the importance of maintaining mediation confidentiality in CultureSafe NZ Limited & Ors v Turuki Healthcare Services Charitable Trust [2020] NZEmpC 165. CultureSafe NZ Limited & Ors v Turuki Healthcare Services Charitable Trust [2020] NZEmpC 165 is an appeal of an earlier ...

How to address misuse of sick leave in light of the proposed increase to sick leave entitlements
18 Mar 21

The Government has introduced a Bill which proposes to increase employees' minimum entitlement to paid sick leave from five to ten days per year. The Bill is currently before a Select Committee, and is likely to pass into law later in 2021. Although there would ...

New Public Service Act and Workforce Assurance Model Standards
18 Mar 21

The new Public Service Act 2020 (Act) came into force on the 6th of February 2021 and replaces the previous State Services Act 1988. Under section 19 of the Act the Public Service Commissioner (Commissioner) can issue guidance on integrity and conduct within the public ...

Solving the people puzzle: Anderson Lloyd
18 Mar 21

Editorial published in Christchurch's lifestyle magazine 'Metropol' in the Women In Business feature on Thursday 18 March.   People, and problems – or more specifically, helping the former solve the latter – is what drew Ashley-Jayne (AJ) Lodge to law. The employment law specialist has ...

Holidays Act devil in detail
10 Mar 21

Column written by Dunedin Partner John Farrow, published in the business section of the Otago Daily Times on Wednesday 10 March. The Holidays Act was brought into force in 2003. Successive governments have promised to reform it. In recent years a number of significant employers ...

Wage subsidy scheme re-opened for businesses affected by COVID-19
3 Mar 21

The "Wage Subsidy March 2021" scheme is available to businesses that have experienced a 40% decline in revenue over a consecutive 14-day period between 28 February and 21 March 2021, compared to a typical 14-day period between 4 January and 14 February 2021. The scheme ...

Government support for businesses as a result of escalation in alert levels
1 Mar 21

The latest lockdown triggers support for both businesses and individuals, with the Prime Minister calling on employers to check in on their employees and ensure that those who are unwell stay at home and get tested. Short-term Absence Payment The Short-term Absence Payment (SAP) is ...

Holidays Act to be overhauled
24 Feb 21

The Government has accepted recommendations to make the Holidays Act clearer and to provide greater certainty to employers and employees. Following a joint request from employers and unions, the Government established a Taskforce to suggest improvements to the Holidays Act 2003 (the Act). Although the ...

Government support for businesses during COVID-19 resurgence
16 Feb 21

The Government has announced a new financial support package, the Resurgence Support Payment, as well as a Wage Subsidy Scheme for businesses affected by COVID-19 as a result of an escalation of the alert levels.   Resurgence Support Payment The Resurgence Support Payment (RSP) will ...

Gate Gourmet – Just What Exactly Is Work?
11 Feb 21

Article written by Dunedin Employment Partner John Farrow, published on Legalwise (11 February 2021). In the article, John discusses the recent Suhkjeet Sandhu and others v Gate Gourmet New Zealand Limited and Shaun Joils [2020] NZERA 259, by examining whether an employee can be said to be ready, ...

New COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment
11 Feb 21

The new COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment (STAP) is available to businesses from the 9th February 2021 as part of the Government's Business Support Package. The purpose of the payment is to help businesses pay employees who are unable to work while they await a COVID-19 ...

A breath of fresh air for trustees – The Trusts Act 2019 and alternative dispute resolution
3 Feb 21

We welcome the new default alternative dispute resolution regime which came into force on 31 January 2021. Prior to the introduction of the Trusts Act 2019 (the Act), it was generally necessary for the High Court to be called on to resolve disputes between trustees ...

Drug testing policy issues highlighted in recent decision
2 Feb 21

Column written by Dunedin Partner John Farrow, published in the business section of the Otago Daily Times on Tuesday 2 February. Last year, New Zealanders voted on whether or not we should legalise the recreational use of cannabis. A number of employers were concerned that ...

Pay equity claims: A step-by-step guide for employers
7 Dec 20

The Equal Pay Amendment Act 2020 has streamlined the process for unions and employees seeking to raise a pay equity claim with their employers.   What is a "pay equity" claim? The principle of pay equity represents women and men receiving equal pay for jobs ...

Privacy Officer Alert
7 Dec 20

Every agency must have a Privacy Officer, who must be actively managing and protecting personal information. In our Spring Bulletin we identified the top five changes under the new Privacy Act, which came into force on 1 December.  With mandatory reporting of significant breaches and ...

Section 123 payments – Are they truly compensation?
7 Dec 20

Compensatory payments under Section 123 of the Employment Relations Act 2000 have become commonplace.  However, recent IRD audits of settlement agreements have highlighted the risks associated with indiscriminate tax-free payments By far the majority of personal grievances are settled by negotiation or at mediation.  Generally ...

Sick leave entitlements to increase
7 Dec 20

Labour has fulfilled an election promise by moving to increase the statutory minimum entitlement to sick leave from 5 days to 10 days per year for eligible employees. The Holidays (Increasing Sick Leave) Amendment Bill passed its first reading on 1 December 2020. The Bill's ...

Employee vs. Contractor—can you really put a label on it?
4 Dec 20

An earlier version of this article was featured in the winter edition of Anderson Lloyd's Employment Newsletter. The law discussed will be relevant to many of our rural sector clients. If your business regularly engages contractors (or engages the same contractor regularly) you may be ...

Holidays and annual closedowns – what you need to know
3 Dec 20

We are not far off being able to put what can only be described as a "challenging" year behind us and look forward to some family time over a well-deserved 'summer break'. Many employers are taking the opportunity to have a longer closedown than would ...

Holidays and annual closedowns – What you need to know
3 Dec 20

We are not far off being able to put what can only be described as a "challenging" year behind us and look forward to some family time over a well-deserved 'summer break'. Many employers are taking the opportunity to have a longer closedown than would ...

COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme extension
29 Sep 20

The COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme has been further expanded. The Scheme provides financial assistance to employers where employees cannot work due to the need to self-isolate. The following groups of employees will now be covered by the Scheme: People who have COVID-like symptoms, work in ...

New Zealand’s employment regulations up for debate again at election time
28 Sep 20

Column written by Dunedin Partner John Farrow, published in the business section of the Otago Daily Times on Monday 28 September. It's election time and with every election comes a raft of promises about changes to employment law. Under a National-led government mandatory meal breaks ...

Dismissal for incompatibility
25 Sep 20

We increasingly hear about the "toxic workplace" and workplace bullying.  Might there actually be an incompatibility issue? 2020 has been a most unusual year.  We have all had to get used to lockdowns and working remotely, or to not working at all, and overall things ...

Flexible working – working from the Hoffice
25 Sep 20

2020 hasn't exactly been the year we all expected.  COVID-19 has brought significant challenges both financially and emotionally, but if there is one positive that we can take away it is the fact that it was surprisingly easy for a large number of employees to ...

National signals significant employment law repeal
21 Sep 20

It's election time and with every election comes a raft of promises about changes to employment law.  Under a National-led Government mandatory meal breaks could be a thing of the past.  National has pledged to repeal the Government's changes to the Employment Relations Act and ...

Privacy law: The top five changes affecting employers
18 Sep 20

In December 2020 the new Privacy Act 2020 comes into force. The Act has not only been modernised, but there have been significant changes to how privacy law will be enforced. Here are the top five key changes employers should be aware of. (In no ...

The cannabis referendum – what does it mean for workplace drug testing?
18 Sep 20

On 17 October 2020, New Zealanders will be able to vote in a referendum on whether or not they support the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill (Cannabis Bill), which would legalise the recreational use of cannabis. The Bill, in its current form, does not cover ...

Employee investigations: choose your investigator wisely
17 Sep 20

A recent decision has shone a light on the lawfulness of employers using independent investigators to conduct employment investigations. It is now common for employers to engage someone independent to investigate allegations of serious misconduct. This is especially the case where the allegations are either ...

Immigration New Zealand – Maximising the opportunities for New Zealand workers
26 Aug 20

Immigration New Zealand has made it clear that one of its current priorities is to maximise the opportunities New Zealand workers have to access the job market. Many employers have found they cannot necessarily expect that an experienced migrant worker they currently employ will be ...

Authority decisions show how not to act in lockdown labour cuts
26 Aug 20

Column written by Dunedin Partner John Farrow, published in the business section of the Otago Daily Times on Wednesday 26 August. The recent COVID cluster in Auckland has prompted the Government to implement the resurgence wage subsidy scheme and simplified leave support scheme. This will ...

Resurgence Wage Subsidy and change to Leave Support Scheme
18 Aug 20

Yesterday, 17 August 2020, the government announced a new Wage Subsidy Scheme and changes to the current Leave Support Scheme, to "cushion the blow" for businesses in light of the recent move to Alerts Levels 2 and Level 3 across the country. Resurgence Wage Subsidy ...

Employment Obligations during Alert Levels 2 and 3
12 Aug 20

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Director-general of health Ashley Bloomfield announced last night that four new Covid-19 cases have been confirmed in Auckland. As a result, Auckland will move to Alert Level 3 as at midday today 12 August 2020, with the rest of New ...

Equal Pay Amendment Bill passes
27 Jul 20

The passing of the Equal Pay Amendment Bill on 22 July 2020 is an important step in closing the gender pay gap in New Zealand. The Bill provides a framework for the resolution of pay-equity disputes.   Background The Equal Pay Amendment Bill was introduced ...

Holidays Act and discretionary bonuses
6 Jul 20

The recent judgment of the full Employment Court in Metropolitan Glass & Glazing Limited v Labour Inspector [2020] NZEmpC 39 has clarified the issue of when and in what circumstances bonuses will be contractual or discretionary for the purposes of calculating "gross earnings". Section 14 of the ...

Updates to the Parental Leave Scheme
6 Jul 20

Temporary updates to the parental leave scheme have come into force as a result of the COVID-19 Response (Further Management Measures) Legislation Act 2020. Permanent changes to the scheme will also come into effect from 1 July 2020.   Temporary changes to parental leave The ...

Fair Pay Agreements
6 Jul 20

The Government established the Fair Pay Agreement (FPA) Working Group in June 2018.  This was chaired by Jim Bolger.  The Working Group delivered its report on 20 December 2018.  Almost a year later, in October 2019, the Government released its discussion paper and sought feedback ...

What are your obligations under the Children’s Act 2014?
6 Jul 20

Safety Checking The Children's Act 2014 (previously Vulnerable Children Act) requires all children's workers to be safety checked. It applies to both contractors and employees of organisations who are funded by government. It does not apply to volunteers. A children's worker is a person who ...

Wage Subsidy Extension
6 Jul 20

As part of the Government's budget announcement on 14 May 2020, the COVID-19 wage subsidy was extended. Around half of all working-age New Zealanders received the original wage subsidy. The Government estimates that some 230,000 businesses will be eligible for the extension. The new scheme ...

Employers beware: when does providing a reference become unauthorised disclosure of personal information?
6 Jul 20

The Human Rights Review Tribunal (HRRT) considers the importance of authorisation before disclosing personal information about an employee. Director of Human Rights Proceedings v Katui Early Childhood Learning Centre Limited [2019] NZHRRT 55 provides an example to employers that references about employees should only be ...

Triangular Employment – Amendment Act
6 Jul 20

The Employment Relations (Triangular Employment) Amendment Act 2019 comes into force on 27 June 2020.  The legislative changes will have an immediate impact on triangular employment relationships.  Businesses will need to understand the potential consequences of being joined to a personal grievance, how best to ...

Contractors’ rights
6 Jul 20

MBIE is in the process of reviewing workplace conditions for contractors.  MBIE sought feedback from contractors in February this year. While employees are entitled to be paid minimum wage, receive leave entitlements and are able to take a personal grievance against their employer, independent contractors ...

Employee vs. Contractor – can you really put a label on it?
6 Jul 20

The contractor versus employee debate continues. Two recent Employment Court judgments released in short succession provide a helpful restatement of the law on classification as an employee. In both Leota v Parcel Express Limited and Southern Taxis Limited v A Labour Inspector the Employment Court ...

After 27 years, the Privacy Act has been refreshed and modernised
29 Jun 20

Parliament has passed the Privacy Act 2020 with unanimous support.   The Privacy Act 2020 comes into force on 1 December 2020. The key reforms of the new Act include: Mandatory notification of harmful privacy breaches If organisations or businesses have a privacy breach that ...

Anderson Lloyd represents Otago Polytechnic in New Zealand’s first judgment ordering a court-ordered enforceable undertaking
23 Jun 20

On 18 June 2020 Judge Kevin Phillips delivered a judgment sentencing Otago Polytechnic for an offence under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. Instead of ordering a significant fine, the judgment ordered New Zealand's first ever court-ordered enforceable undertaking. Otago Polytechnic, represented by ...

Renewed focus on nature of employment relationships
18 Jun 20

Column written by Dunedin Partner John Farrow, published in the business section of the Otago Daily Times on Thursday 18 June. The various levels of the COVID-19 lockdown brought challenges to New Zealand businesses. There have also been a number of lessons. Annual leave accruals ...

Wage Subsidy Extension
15 Jun 20

As part of the Government's budget announcement on 14 May 2020, the COVID-19 wage subsidy was extended. Around half of all working-age New Zealanders received the original wage subsidy. The Government estimates that some 230,000 businesses will be eligible for the extension. The new scheme ...

COVID-19: Health and safety considerations for businesses and employers at Alert Level 2
12 May 20

The Prime Minister has announced that as of 14 May 2020, New Zealand will move into the less restrictive Alert Level 2.  At Alert Level 2 the majority of New Zealand businesses will be permitted to physically open and resume trade. This article discusses what ...

COVID-19 update: Changes to the Parental Leave Scheme
12 May 20

The COVID-19 Response (Further Management Measures) Legislation Bill (the Bill) has introduced changes to the parental leave scheme. Under the proposed amendments to the parental leave scheme governed by the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987 (the Act), essential workers who are currently on ...

Government expands Essential Workers’ Leave Support
28 Apr 20

As from Friday, 1 May businesses can make application to the Ministry of Social Development for Workers' Leave Support. Under the broadened criteria, the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme will be available to all businesses, organisations and self-employment people, not just essential services. The other criteria ...

Level 3 employment considerations
25 Apr 20

With New Zealand moving to a Level 3 alert at 11.59pm on Monday, 27 April 2020 many employees will be returning to work. The below article considers what factors an employer should be considering in order to facilitate this return to work, as well as ...

Working together in good faith is crucial for survival, recovery
17 Apr 20

Column written by Dunedin Partner John Farrow, published in the business section of the Otago Daily Times on Friday 17 April. COVID-19 and the Level 4 lockdown have created myriad issues for employers and employees alike. It's not possible in this brief article to cover ...

Sick leave: Essential Workers’ Leave Scheme (updated)
8 Apr 20

Details of the new sick leave scheme for essential workers have been clarified and the scheme is available from Monday 6 April, for a period of at least 8 weeks((https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/essential-workers-leave-scheme-established)). Payments The Beehive press release confirms essential workers who take leave from work to comply ...

Sick leave: Essential Workers’ Leave Scheme
2 Apr 20

Details of the new sick leave scheme for essential workers were announced today and the scheme will be available on Monday 6 April, for a period of at least 8 weeks ((https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/essential-workers-leave-scheme-established)). The Beehive press release confirms essential workers who take leave from work to ...

COVID-19 – Wage Subsidy Q & A
1 Apr 20

The Government is regularly updating and finessing the Wage Subsidy Scheme. Here Malcolm Couling answers some of the questions commonly asked by businesses.   Q: What does 'best efforts to pay 80% mean? A: The starting point is often overlooked – you should being paying ...

Lockdown – public holidays and annual leave obligations
1 Apr 20

With the Easter public holidays set to fall during the current COVID-19 lockdown period it is necessary for employers and employees to understand their obligations and rights. In this article our specialist employment law team examines the issues of payments for public holidays as well ...

Privacy issues in the workplace with COVID-19
1 Apr 20

In these highly unusual circumstances we are all, employee and employers, required to continue to comply with the usual good faith requirements of the Employment Relations Act. The calls for calm and common sense when dealing with COVID-19 are the best way to help us ...

Understanding leave entitlements during COVID-19
1 Apr 20

Can I make my staff take annual leave or alternative days if our business is also claiming the wage subsidy? The guidance from the government on the interaction between the wage subsidy scheme and leave is that employees cannot be unlawfully required or compelled to ...

Working from home – Who is responsible?
1 Apr 20

On Monday, 23 March 2020, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declared a nationwide “level four alert” effective from 11.59pm, 25 March 2020, requiring the shutdown of all businesses, with the exception of essential services. Thousands of employees will now be required to work from home. But ...

Latest Update to Essential Businesses
31 Mar 20

The Government updated its definition of 'essential businesses' late on the afternoon of 30 March 2020. There is greater clarification on essential non-food consumer products. Businesses are able to sell essential non-food consumer products provided they do so in a way that protects the public ...

COVID-19: Immigration update for visa holders
31 Mar 20

The New Zealand government recently issued an Epidemic Management Notice, designed to inform and support some visa holders. On 24 March 2020 the Prime Minister, together with the Minister of Immigration and Minister for Social Development, issued an Epidemic Preparedness (Epidemic Management- COVID-19) Notice 2020. ...

Major Update to Wage Subsidy Scheme
27 Mar 20

The Government has made major modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. The changes will apply from 4pm today. The key points are discussed below: Key points: The modifications focus on keeping businesses and workers ...

Update for employers: Government COVID-19 package
19 Mar 20

On 17 March the Government announced an economic response package to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. The total package is valued at $12.1B. Two parts of that package are especially relevant to businesses.   The Wage Subsidy Scheme Wage subsidies (paid to an employer as ...

Otago construction boom brings responsibilities
2 Mar 20

Column written by Dunedin Partner John Farrow, published in the business section of the Otago Daily Times on Monday 3 March. It seems that Otago is at the beginning, if not in the midst, of a construction boom. Dunedin’s hospital, school expansions, hotels and houses ...

Coronavirus: Key Employment Law questions
12 Feb 20

The outbreak of the 2019-nCoV (Coronavirus) epidemic in China has New Zealand at stage II of its framework for action: New Zealand Influenza Pandemic Plan (NZIPP).  We are currently attempting to "Keep It Out" through border controls, restrictions and preventative action so that we never ...

Coronavirus: Headline thoughts for New Zealand businesses
5 Feb 20

The novel coronavirus is giving the world a major scare. There is no doubt that it is also going to present New Zealand with an economic speedbump this year.  Many businesses are already experiencing the direct impact of coronavirus. We have seen some exports to ...

Employment Court clamps down on breaches of minimum entitlements
17 Dec 19

In the recent decision Labour Inspector v Parihar [2019] NZEmpC 145 the Employment Court imposed significant penalties on liquor store owners who breached the minimum entitlement provisions contained in the Minimum Wage Act 1983 and Holidays Act 2003. Proceedings were commenced by the Labour Inspectorate ...

For more information contact:

Richard Greenaway

richard.greenaway@al.nz