Employment law changes
Employment legislation changes coming into effect on 6 May 2019. Our employment agreement templates have been updated to reflect these changes. The updated templates are now available on the website.
Rest and meal breaks
From the 6 May the rest and meal breaks are now defined by the hours of work e.g. for between 2 – 8 hours:
- If an employee has worked between 2 and 4 hours they are entitled to one 10 minute paid rest break
- If the work period is between 4 and 6 hours they are entitled to one 10 minute paid rest break and one 30 minute unpaid meal break
- If the work period is between 6 and 8 hours two 10 minute paid rest breaks and one 30 minute unpaid meal break
There are different requirements for those who work longer than 8 hours and these are detailed in our content. The rest and meal breaks detailed above are the minimum requirements.
Employers and employees should agree when the breaks are taken, if you are unable to come to agreement then the Act details when the breaks should be taken.
90-day trial period
After 6 May, employers will only be able to use the 90-day trial period if they have fewer than 20 employees.
For those with more than 20 employees you will need to rely on thorough recruitment processes, including referee checking.
Domestic Violence leave
Although this legislation came into effect 1 April, the updated employment agreement templates now mention this legislation under the ‘Holidays and leave’ section.
For General Medical Practice
There is additional legislation to be aware of when the practice is party to a collective employment agreement.
- Re-introduction of the 30-day rule – this applies when you are employing someone whose role is covered by the PHC MECA but is not a union member. Although you negotiate and give them a copy of their individual employment agreement, you must also make available a copy of the current PHC MECA. For the first 30 days of their employment they are covered by the terms and conditions of the MECA, should they join the NZNO the MECA continues to apply at the end of 30 days. If the employee chooses not to join the NZNO then the negotiated terms of the individual employment agreement will apply.
- Restoration of the duty to conclude bargaining – Parties must conclude collective bargaining unless there are genuine reasons not to.
Removal of multi-employer collective agreement opt-out – Employers can no longer opt out of bargaining for multi-employer collective agreement. They must enter into bargaining when they are asked to by the union.
- Restoration of the ability for union representatives to enter the work place without consent – provided the employees are covered under or are bargaining towards a collective agreement.
Representatives can still only enter the workplace for certain reasons, be respectful of normal operating hours, follow H & S and security procedures.
Union representatives need to seek consent to enter a workplace when there is no collective agreement or bargaining. A union representative can enter a work place to assist a non-union employee with health and safety if the employee has requested their assistance.
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