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Recent changes in the employment game

Employment law has seen significant changes in this half of 2019. Whether you are an employer or an employee you need to be familiar with the changes and how they affect you and the business.

Back on 1 April 2019 the new domestic violence leave provisions came into force. This entitles people suffering the effects of domestic violence up to 10 additional days of paid annual leave. For more information on these amendments, please see our earlier blog article posted on 30 November 2018. Essentially the changes are unclear and as an employer we recommend you adopt your own policy on how to deal with a request by an employee.

The IRD have made changes to how often PAYE (or Pay As You Earn) filing needs to be done from 1 April 2019. From now on, employers are required to file PAYE returns for each employee every time they are paid. That means if employees are paid weekly, this task needs to be carried out every week. However if you pay employees monthly, then you can continue with the standard monthly filing procedure.

The new rest break rules also came into effect on 1 April 2019. The rules have reverted to being mandatory and the number of breaks will increase the longer the employee is at work. Rest breaks are paid while meal breaks are unpaid. Certain jobs are exempt from these rules such as positions in New Zealand’s national security and essential services.

Rules around trial periods have also changed and these came into effect on 6 May 2019. Now only businesses with 19 or fewer employees can use trial periods for new employees. The number of employees are counted on the day the agreement is entered into. If you employee 20 or more employees and you believe some kind of backstop is necessary you can insert a probation period clause into the employment agreement. It does not stop an employee raising a personal grievance as the employer still needs to follow a fair process but gives you an opportunity to assess new employees.

Georgia Jaques is a Lawyer at Law North Limited in Kerikeri.  She can be contacted on (09) 4077099 or georgia@lawnorth.co.nz.  Feedback and suggestions for future articles is appreciated.

 

  • Posted By: Georgia Jaques on Fri, 10th May 2019 @ 15:37:03

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