Legal publications & articles

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Legal articles and general news from BlackmanSpargo Rural Law...
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Employing migrant workers has changed

Published on 28/07/2022
Farmers have historically employed migrant workers under the Essential Skills Work Visa. However, as of 4 July 2022, the Essential Skills Work Visa has been removed and replaced with the Accredited Employer Work Visa.

COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme

Published on 06/05/2020
Since the Covid-19 Level 4 Lockdown, many people have been taking part in the Government’s Wage Subsidy Scheme.

Unjustified dismissal

Published on 04/04/2018
As an employer, it is crucial that you are aware of your legal responsibilities when dealing with your employees. Being unaware of the law or not keeping up to date with changes to the law, will not be a defence if there is a breakdown...

A Hollow Victory for Employers

Published on 20/10/2016
Employers should find some comfort in a recent Employment Court decision denying an employee financial remedies because his animal cruelty resulted in an unjustified dismissal. However, despite the outcome being favourable to the employer, the case highlights the cost of defending a personal grievance claim. By way...

The employer’s obligation for safety in the workplace

Published on 20/03/2016
The national statistics on safety in the workplace on farms are sobering. Since the Pike River mining disaster, the number of deaths on farms was greater than the loss of lives at Pike River. The farm employer’s obligations under health and safety legislation...

Changes to Employment Standards

Published on 20/03/2016
As from 1 April 2016, the minimum wage will increase from $14.75 per hour to $15.25 per hour. Although many employees will be paid a salary, it is important to ensure that, in any fortnightly period, the number of hours worked do not result in...

Employment Disciplinary Procedures

Published on 20/08/2015
At the recent update hosted by the Employment Relations Authority we were reminded how crucial it is for employers to have tangible written records of their disciplinary processes. Without this written evidence, it is virtually impossible to successfully defend a personal grievance claim. The good...


Published on 31/07/2015
With the drop in the milk payout it may be tempting to cut costs by reducing staff numbers. However, as always with employment, making staff redundant is not as straightforward as it seems. To avoid an employee taking a personal grievance, employers need to be...

Averaging of Pay in the Rural Sector – Timesheets are Essential

Published on 20/08/2014
A topical issue for many farmers is the common industry practice of averaging wages for employees over the season. There are many reasons why averaging of hours is preferred. It is difficult to anticipate the hours that an employee will spend working because of the seasonal...

The Employer’s Obligation for Safety in the Workplace

Published on 20/07/2013
The national statistics on safety in the workplace on farms are nothing short of appalling. It is a sobering fact that the number of deaths on farms in the last two years was greater than the loss of lives in the PikeRiver mining disaster. In the...

90-Day Trial Periods

Published on 20/07/2013
Employers can offer employment on a trial period of up to 90 days. During this trial period if an employee is dismissed, that employee cannot bring a personal grievance in respect of the dismissal. It is important that employers fully understand their obligations, to ensure that...

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