Changes to the Holiday Act and Employment Relations Act
On the 1st April, we saw some changes to the Holidays Act and Employment Relations Act introduced. These changes will be helpful for employers in some sectors, and are designed to allow flexibility for both employers and employees.
These changes are part of a wider group of changes, some introduced on the 1st April and others to be introduced on 1st July. For your consideration I have noted four of the key changes implemented this month.
Minimum Wage. From 1st April the adult minimum wage rate (before tax) for all employees aged 16 years and over is now $13/hour.
Easy. It’s now the law.
Cashing in Annual Leave.
Employees are now able to ask their employers to pay out in cash, up to one week of their minimum entitlement to annual holidays per year, starting from 1st April 2011. This request must be in writing, and the reply from the employer must also be in writing. The employer has the right to accept or decline the offer, and does not need to state the reason for their decision. However the Act states that a company must consider all requests in good faith, even though the employer can state that there is a company policy against cashing up. Employers cannot ask their employees to consider cashing up.
Confused? I was. Like dancing a waltz.
Extending trial periods to all employers.
Remember the government introduced 90 trials, but limited it to companies with a limited number of staff. As at 1st April, any company of any size has the right to use the 90 day free trial. The key point to remember is that this trial has to written and agreed upon as part of a standard employment contract. Of interest is that disgruntled employees still have the right to question dismissal prior to 90 days for any other reason other than “unjustified dismissal”
Like all things employment related, write it into the contract.
Transferring public holidays.
Again, this needs to be written and agreed to by both parties and can be instigated by either the employer of the employee. Because there are many variables when discussing public holidays, it’s best to check with Department of Labour. Check out www.dol.govt.nz/er/holidaysandleave or call them on 0800 20 90 20
Get it written and signed.
If you have any queries around these new changes it’s best to check with Department of Labour, or call Alf at CornerStone Recruitment on 634 0574.