Most Read Contributor in New Zealand, September 2016
The Government will legislate to require employers to commit to
a minimum number of hours where the employee is expected to be on
Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse
characterised the move as requiring a "principle of mutual
obligation" in an employment relationship.
We detail the proposed changes below.
Key reform proposals
changes, to be incorporated in an Employment Standards Bill
which will be introduced into Parliament later this year, are:
where the employer requires the employee to be available for
work additional to any hours agreed, the employee must be
compensated for that availability. Employees will be free to
decline any hours above the minimum agreed
an employer will not be able to cancel a shift or send an
employee home early without providing reasonable notice or without
reasonable notice and compensation will not be defined in the
Bill but should be agreed as part of the terms and conditions of
the employment contract employers will not be able to restrict
employees from taking on secondary employment without reasonable
grounds. These will not be prescribed in the legislation but will
be related to the risk of loss to the employer of knowledge,
property (including IP), or competitive advantage, and
employers will not be able to deduct money from employees'
pay for losses beyond the employee's control or not involving
any negligence on the employee's part - e.g. theft by
Chapman Tripp comments
The Bill will continue to allow casual employment agreements.
The distinction will be where the employee is expected to be on
call. Where that is the case, the employer will be required to
provide reasonable compensation.
Employers, particularly those with existing part-time or shift
work arrangements, will need to be mindful of the Bill's
provisions and to ensure new notice and compensation requirements
are provided for in their employment agreements.
They will also need to be aware the definition of what is
reasonable will be a matter for negotiation between the
There will be the opportunity to make submissions on the
The information in this article is for informative purposes
only and should not be relied on as legal advice. Please contact
Chapman Tripp for advice tailored to your situation.
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