Changes to Employment Standards

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 employees being paid less than the minimum hourly rate for the hours worked. This needs to be monitored carefully, especially during periods where employees are working longer hours than normal such as calving. Keeping accurate time records and monitoring these where increased hours are worked will ensure there are no inadvertent breaches of the minimum hourly wage.

Further Employment Law Changes Proposed

Over the next 18 months, there are further employment reforms proposed. These are likely to result in tougher sanctions for serious breaches of employment standards. The maximum fines for serious breaches are likely to increase significantly with employers named publicly if the Employment Relations Authority or Employment Court find a breach in minimum standards.

Cases could be pursued against persons other than the employer if that person is knowingly and intentionally involved when an employer breaches such standards. Liability could be extended to directors and senior managers.

It is also proposed that labour inspectors have increased tools by sharing information with other regulators such as Immigration New Zealand, the Companies Office and Inland Revenue.

If you have any concerns about whether your current employment practice is compliant, please contact us.