Skip to content
03 545 0877  

Recruitment Work Trials and 90 Day Trial Periods: Treat with Caution.

With 90 day trial period available to all employers once again, and the common practice of bringing in candidates to ‘trial’ them as part of the recruitment process, here is an important case to remind us to proceed with caution.

Can you Change a 12 year old Rostering Practice?

The question in this Employment Relations Authority (ERA) case was whether the employer could change a roster system that was in place for 12 years, but wasn’t specified in the employment agreement. The employee claimed it had become an implied term and couldn’t be changed.

I Promise this is Interesting

Could this happen in your organisation? A woman filled in a form with an organisation, which included many personal details. Several months later a random person sent her a copy of the completed form, via social media, telling her he had been sent it by this organisation.

The Cost of Unilaterally Changing an Employee’s job

If you have ever thought of reducing an employee’s standard hours of work, days of work, normal responsibilities or any other term in their Employment Agreement, please remember that you can’t do this unless you have their agreement. It can be costly.

Paying Employees Over Easter

Thinking about payroll over Easter is an excellent reason to indulge in Easter Eggs and Hot Cross Buns. There is always some tricky scenario that baffles even the well seasoned payroll administrator. So go and grab a few easter eggs you hid from the children/partner and settle down for some revision.

Q&A : Resignations and Abandonment

Most employees who leave your organisation do so with respect and genuine ‘good luck’ wishes. Unfortunately some don’t. Here are a few scenarios we have been asked about (with a fair bit of poetic licence to protect identities)…what would you do?

90 Day Trial Periods are Back for all Organisations (not just the small guys).

Changing the legislation was a priority promise for the new government and it came into effect on 23 December 2023. The rules that apply must be adhered to as failure to do so could result in an unfair dismissal personal grievance (which defeats the whole purpose of using them).

When an Employee Walks Without Notice

What can an employer do when someone leaves without giving their required notice? A recent Employment Relations Authority decision addressed this question. The employer was awarded $3,000 from their ex-employee for his failure to give notice without reasonable cause.

Complementary Training Seminars & Webinar

Managing Times of Peak Pressure Looking for helpful hints and tricks when managing times of pressure? Join our complimentary training…

Q & A: Restructuring

Restructures within an organisation can be difficult – not only following the correct process but also the emotions of everyone involved. It is important to stop and think about the process before you embark on this. Here is a Q & A to get your thinking going.

Paying Employees – Christmas and New Year

With Christmas day falling on a Monday this year, it makes calculating the payroll a little easier. There is no transferring of the public holidays (unless you have a specific agreement for this), so Monday 25th and Tuesday 26th December are public holidays as are Monday 1st and Tuesday 2nd January. Read more for a summary of the fundamentals:

Thinking of a Restructure Before Christmas? Some Things You Should Know:

If you are tempted into rushing a restructure before the Christmas break then consider your steps very carefully.  A restructure which may result in lost positions, must still be considered thoroughly.   There are strict legal obligations on the employer notwithstanding that the writing is on the wall. 

Leaders – Don’t miss out

Our recent free seminar on communication and leadership had great feedback and created a real buzz. The Nelson event was fully booked and so is the upcoming Blenheim seminar and we’ve had a lot of out of town interest. So, for those interested, we are looking to deliver the same seminar as a free webinar and we would like to gauge your interest.

Christmas Closedowns and Leave Q & A

At the risk of being hounded for mentioning Christmas in October, if you are planning a closedown over the Christmas and New Year period, you need to start thinking about it now. Here is a Q&A to get your thinking going.

Redundancy, Performance or Medical Incapacity

There are times an employer is faced with different paths for bringing an employee’s employment to an end. They may…

National’s 100 day plan

We have a new government and, subject to the nuances of who the National Party will partner with, they have a pre stated 100 day plan.  Changes in the employment arena cover two primary legislations changes. It is intended to reintroduce the 90 day trial period for all employers and to repeal the ‘Fair Pay Agreements’ legislation.

Unpaid Interns Declared Employees

Is an intern an employee? According to a recent Employment Relations Authority (ERA) case the answer is yes. This decision, along with a general trend on what is deemed to be work is once again in the spotlight.

Too Sick to be Dismissed?

In the middle of a disciplinary process the employee calls in sick (generally the reason given is stress) and says they can’t attend any further meetings.  This prolongs the disciplinary process, often to the point where the employer is left wondering if taking disciplinary action is worth it. This is a frequent occurrence and one that leaves employers frustrated.

Fair Pay Agreements Update – This Probably Affects You!

If you have employees who are commercial cleaners, security officers, work in early childhood education, the grocery supermarket industry, bus transport or in hospitality related roles, then this article is an essential read.

HOT OFF THE PRESS – Big change in legislation

There is an important development in employment law occurred on 13 June 2023.  It extends the time frame to allow a claim of sexual harassment in the workplace from the standard 90 days to 12 months.

Costly Mistakes in the Redundancy Process

A New Zealand Steel company found out the hard way, the cost of getting a redundancy process wrong. The employee was awarded $25k in compensation, 18 months lost wages and was reinstated.

The Power of Chat GPT

An exciting and scary development in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Chat GPT is affecting us all in the workplace. Recently, I ventured into the abyss and tried it for the first time. I asked it to “Write an article on the impact of Chat GPT on employment in New Zealand.

Investigations; Q & A

What are your options for conducting a workplace investigation? He is a short Q & A to test your knowledge on how to approach these scenarios.

$56k Payout for Bullying

After just 6 months into her new job, Katherine McIntyre felt compelled to resign from her Administration Assistant role because of the bullying behaviour of her colleague. She raised a personal grievance claiming constructive dismissal.

Fair Pay Agreement Update

The first union application for a Fair Pay Agreement (FPA) to be negotiated has been approved by the Chief Executive of MBIE. Bus Drivers are the first cab off the rank. Here is a reminder of what this is all about and why it is important for all employers to understand the impact.

What is Work?

We are likely to all agree that once an employee is at work and being productive, they are working and therefore entitled to be paid. The question becomes more contentious when considering less clear-cut circumstances such as the time traveling to and from work, having to sleep over somewhere because of work, being on-call but not actually at work, or being at work but not being as productive as expected.

Sick, Not Sick

Usually, a genuinely sick employee is easier to manage than one you suspect of ‘trying it on’. When someone is genuinely unwell, they are open and honest with you and provide you with the information you need to make decisions and plan for cover, your ability to manage and be understanding is often extensive. Most employers go beyond their legal obligations to try to support a sick employee.

Absence & ACC Q & A

Absence comes in all shapes and sizes and can be daunting for employers to know the best way to address the issue. Try our quick Q & A to test your knowledge on how to approach these scenarios.

Employees Work Overtime?

If you require employees to do overtime, even if they can turn it down in practice, they must be compensated for this availability according to a recent Employment Court decision.

Fair Pay Agreements: Test your Knowledge

Are you up to speed with the Fair Pay Agreement process, your obligations, and how it may affect your business? Test your knowledge by reviewing these scenarios.

Redundancy Q & A

There is a process that must be followed before you make a decision to implement redundancies.. Try our quick Q & A to help you test knowledge on the redundancy process.

Employee Affected by Family Violence: A Family Violence Policy May Greatly Assist

In 2019 it was formally recognised that an employee affected by family violence (either current or historical) can be significantly impacted in every aspect of their life, not least the satisfactory performance of their employment obligations.

Employer Pays for One Small Error in Dismissal Process

A case recently before the Employment Relations Authority has seen a small error in the process by the employer resulting in a compensation payment to an employee with a negative attitude who also operated his own business during the employer’s time.

Managing Christmas Leave Q & A

This year Christmas Day is after Boxing Day, and New Year’s Day comes after January 2nd! Don’t believe me? These Q&As on public holidays and closedowns over Christmas may help you to understand.

Take Care When Making That Offer of Employment

You think you have found the ideal applicant for your position.  You offer them the position.  They may even have signed an employment agreement. But before they start work you become aware of information that makes you question their suitability.   Can you revoke the offer of employment?

Beware: Redundancy Selection Essentials

This case outlines the importance of consultation when applying the selection process following a restructure. The Authority found two redundant employees had been unjustifiably dismissed after being deprived of the opportunity to provide feedback on their scores when compared with those of the successful employees.

Personal Liability for Personal Grievance

If you are a director of a company that employs staff then you need to be aware of a new Court of Appeal decision.  It has some far-reaching consequences and may make you personally liable for actions (or inactions) of the company or organisation you stand behind.

The Complexities of Sexual Harassment Complaints

Managing a sexual harassment complaint in your workplace is one of the most challenging employment matters you can deal with. In addition to the devastating personal impact sexual harassment can have on an individual, the process of dealing with a complaint can be treacherous.

Christmas Closedowns and Leave Q & A

Test your Knowledge to ensure you are on top of the latest COVID-19 updates.

Recent COVID-19 Changes: Q & A

Test your Knowledge to ensure you are on top of the latest COVID-19 updates.

Life as we knew it

Life as we Knew it:   COVID-19 Rules Update and Recommendations:  Our lives have once again changed to be the closest to a life before COVID-19. Exit the traffic light system and vaccination mandates. For businesses, it is again time to review your health and safety risks. 

Paying Employees for 26 September Public Holiday

To mark the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Government has announced a one-off national public holiday, to take place on Monday 26 September 2022. This means that normal Public Holiday requirements under the Holidays Act will apply.

House Rules Oversight Costs Employer $10K

An 18-year-old supermarket worker was dismissed for serious misconduct for dyeing her hair an unnatural colour and refusing to wear a hat. She raised a personal grievance for unjustified dismissal.

Employment Agreements: Q & A

Test your knowledge on the requirements of Employment Agreements and some of those regular stumbling blocks such as what if the employee won’t sign.

Employment Agreement Clauses: Legislation and Case Law that can Impact 

Last year in particular, there were a lot of law changes and some case law decisions that have meant individual employment agreement (IEA) templates need updating. 

Heat of the Moment Resignations

Do you really need to give them more time to consider?  Two recent decisions of the Employment Court may be indicating a turning of the times when it comes to requiring an employer to allow additional time or a cooling off period before considering an employee’s resignation.

Redundancy: Getting it Right

Of the 29 Employment Relations Authority determinations on redundancy personal grievances so far in 2022, this is the only one where the employer won the case. The vast majority failed because the employer did not follow the correct process.

Tough Employment Market: Should We Pay More? 

We have recently had an increase in the number of clients asking about remuneration and benefits.  Specifically, about ways to pay more because in the current climate many organisations are concerned with how to retain and attract talent.  They think that paying more might address that concern.

Redundancy Q&A

For businesses facing the possibility of redundancies, it is a heartbreaking but necessary step to ensure the long term viability of your organistion. In this Q & A we cover some of the essentials necessary to follow a sound redundancy process.

Our first Matariki Public Holiday

Matariki marks the beginning of the Māori New Year. The first Matariki public holiday is Friday 24 June 2022. The date Matariki is celebrated each year changes. For the purpose of the public holiday, the date it is observed has been determined..

Vaccination Mandate Overturned: Should Employers be Concerned?

In short - mostly there is no need to worry despite a High Court decision that ruled the Covid-19 vaccination…

Isolation: Is it sick leave? (Q & A)

These are all real-life examples of questions we have been asked (some details changed to prevent identification). What would you do?

Replacing Staff After a Redundancy

After deciding a position is not needed in your organisation and going through the pain of the subsequent redundancy, what…

Mandates, Masks and Scanning: What can Employers Insist on?

Let’s start with yesterday’s (Wednesday 23 March) changes. Vaccine mandates will only be required for those working in health, aged…

Curly Omicron Scenarios Q & A

These are all real-life examples of questions we have been asked (some details changed to prevent identification). What would you do?

Wellbeing Resources & Other Support  

Here are a number of sites you may find useful to stay abreast of changes, access financial and workplace supports…

Omicron Rules & Regulations – Key Questions Answered

Mandated Boosters On 23 January, the snappily named “COVID-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Amendment Order 2022” came into force.  This…

Giving Notice to Unvaccinated Employees Q & A

There have been dozens of questions about the intricacies of terminating the employment of an unvaccinated worker. Here are some answers to commonly (and not so commonly) asked questions.

Decisions About the Unvaccinated

For organisations where clear, unambiguous government vaccine mandates are in place (e.g. border workers, health sector, teachers), the decisions required…

Managing Wellbeing in the Workplace

It’s not exaggerating to state that there is a hell of a lot going on in the world at the moment. As we all now navigate the “traffic light” system, a further period of adjustment and change, it would be understandable if people feel ‘over it’. 

Mandated Vaccinations: What to do?

Even with the mandating of the COVID vaccination for many organisations, employers still need to follow a process before deciding to terminate employment. An employer’s good faith obligations remain.

Repayment of $27k Ordered

After 11 months as a Truck Driver for LongChill Ltd in the Manawatū, Mr Hardaker resigned from his job. There were no issues and no personal grievances raised, and ordinarily that would be the end of the story.

No jab, no job – Dismissal Justified

GF v New Zealand Customs Service is the first Employment Relations Authority decision relating to an employee’s termination because they refused to get a COVID-19 vaccination.

Protecting our Business and Team

As we come to accept COVID-19 is a reality in our communities and hard lock downs will no longer be the government response, businesses will need to consider what steps they will take to meet their health and safety obligations and protect their businesses.

What Kind of Leave Q&A

These are all real-life examples of questions we have been asked (some details changed to prevent identification). What would you do?

Dismissal Justified – $8K Compensation Anyway

Despite the Employment Relations Authority determining a company Managing Director was justifiably dismissed, the former employee was awarded $8,000 because of the poor process and how he was suspended.

Returning to Work: Practical Steps

Here are some initial practical steps employers can take at each COVID-19 Alert Level change.

COVID-19 Policy Pack – Now Available

This pack of information including policies and risk assessment tools will help you with making a plan and communications and expectations for your staff during a crisis.

Court: No obligation to pay minimum wage to non-working employees during lockdown

The Employment Relations Authority found that Gate Gourmet had breached the Minimum Wage Act by paying staff less than the minimum wage during the Covid-19 lockdown.

My Employee Refuses to Take a COVID Test?

‘My employee is showing symptoms of COVID and I have asked them to go and have a test to protect the rest of my staff and myself. They are refusing! What can I do?”

COVID-19: Short-term Absence Payment (for testing)

The COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment is still available for businesses, including self-employed people, to help pay their workers who cannot work from home while they wait for a COVID-19 test result.

Back to the Basics – FAQ’s

Here are some answers to those fundamental questions of what you can and can’t do with staff during lockdown, and some reminders on all things COVID related.

The Source of the Vaccine Microchip Conspiracy Theory

Just for the record that is a definite no – there is no microchip or anything similar in any of…

Contractor Ruled as Employee

In the recent case of Barry v CI Builders Limited, despite the parties agreeing that Mr Barry was a contractor, the Employment Court found that the real nature of the relationship was in fact an employment relationship.

Parental Leave: Key Things to Remember

There have been many changes to employee leave entitlements over the last 12 months including parental leave provisions.  On 1st July 2020, Government funded paid parental leave increased..

Parent-Teacher Interview Leave

An amendment to the Holiday Act to include parent-teacher interview leave has had its first reading in Parliament.

Fair Pay Agreements – How will the Proposed System Work?

In early May the Government finally provided details regarding the proposed design of its Fair Pay Agreement system.  Here’s what we know so far…….

Amendment Bill to Increase Sick Leave Entitlements Passes

A bill introduced in December 2020 to increase the availability of employer-funded sick leave has passed its third and final reading and will come into effect on 24th July 2021.

Unjustifiably Dismissed Gold Mine Worker Awarded $18,980

Justin Banks had only been working for a month at a gold mine in Arahura, near the town of Hokitika,…

Selling Your Business?

If you are considering selling your business you are obliged to consult with your employees first. For many business owners this seems bizarre - after all it is theirs to sell and not the decision of your employees. 

‘Sorry, it was a joke’ not Accepted

Ivan Ilin, an employee at the Meadow Fresh milk processing facility in Christchurch, was dismissed for drawing a swastika on his company overalls, just a few days after the Christchurch mosque terror attacks. Four days after the attacks Ilin was asked by a colleague what he thought about the attacks.

Security Guards get job Protection

Effective from 1 July 2021 Security Guards will be deemed to be ‘vulnerable workers’ under the Employment Relations Act. As such they will have the automatic right to transfer their employment including their existing terms and conditions and leave entitlements, when the security contracts they are working on for one employer are taken over by a new employer.

Year Long Backlog for Personal Grievances

The Employment Relations Authority (ERA), the body that determines personal grievances, has a backlog of 659 cases on their books, with a further 280 yet to be assigned. The result is a wait of over a year for a case to be determined.

Test Your Knowledge: COVID-19 Travel and Vaccinations

Test your knowledge with these scenarios and questions around Trans-Tasman Travel and Vaccinations. Do you know the answers or have a process in place to manage these situations? If you would like other questions answered in our next Q & A please email them to [email protected]

Holidays Act Future Changes 2021

As a result of a Taskforce that reviewed the current Holidays Act and provide recommendations for improvement earlier this year, the Government indicated that the 22 recommendations should be adopted in full. We can now expect to see legislative changes in early 2022 to the Holidays Act in line with these recommendations…

Manager Awarded Over $76K Following Flawed Redundancy

The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) has ruled a tech company’s dismissal of a senior sales and marketing manager was unjustified. The ERA’s decision found the company failed to follow proper processes by not offering the employee a position in the company when it became vacant during his notice period.

COVID-19 Vaccinations: Employment Implications

As we enter the vaccination phase of this pandemic a new set of questions and considerations arise for employers. The Think Tank session we held last week raised some puzzling conundrums and generated excellent discussion. Thank you to everyone who contributed. A summary of the discussion points follow in this article.

New Public Holiday Recognising Matariki

One of Labour’s election promises was to introduce a new public holiday, from 2022, to recognise Matariki.

Urine-based Drug Testing Challenged

ERA agreed employees could choose an oral swab test instead. Many of our clients have had workplace drug and alcohol testing in place for a long time and the use of a testing regime is a practice generally understood and accepted by most employees. 

COVID-19: Short-term Absence Payment

The COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment is now available for businesses, including self-employed people, to help pay their workers who cannot work from home while they wait for a COVID-19 test result.

COVID-19 Vaccinations

Can Employers Insist on vaccinations? With COVID-19 vaccinations becoming available in New Zealand, initially to health and border workers and their families, we are starting to have the conversation with employers about whether or not they can require workers to have a vaccination.

Bullied Employee Wins Constructive Dismissal

Employee sought an exit strategy when raising the grievance, however the employer was found to have breached their duty of care.

No Obligation to Pay Minimum Wage to Non-Working Employees During Lockdown

An airline catering company, Gate Gourmet, was found to have breached the Minimum Wage Act by paying staff less than the minimum wage during the Covid-19 lockdown. The company appealed the ERA decision...

You get reassurance that your employment matters are dealt with professionally, so you can go back to doing what you do best.

Help with anything in the employment life cycle from recruitment and employment agreements to disciplinaries and disputes and anything else in between.


Follow Us


Physical Address:
56 Waimea Road Nelson 7010

Postal Address:
PO Box 1615 Nelson, 7040

Our Newsfeed

Subscribe to our News Feed for the latest industry updates.

Back To Top