Use & Abuse of Sick Leave Entitlement

Use & Abuse of Sick Leave Entitlement

An increasing number of employers are coming to us with gripes about how their employees are using and abusing sick leave entitlements. There appears to be a prevailing attitude in New Zealand that sick leave is a “right” and that it should be treated almost an extension of an employee’s annual leave.  Although the minimum entitlement for an employee for sick leave is 5 days per year, this entitlement accrues so that an employee at any one time may have 20 sick days available to them.  This can be a serious liability for an employer. 

 

 

Are You Genuinely Restructuring

Are You Genuinely Restructuring

This month our employment team has focused on company restructures. No employer wants to face a personal grievance claim, so the head of our employment team has written an article to help you: 

  1. Understand the legal requirements.
  2. Follow a proper process.
  3. Recognise the ‘red flags’.
  4. Know the appropriate questions to be asking prior to instigating any restructure process.

 

 

 

Employee vs Independent Contractor

Employee vs Independent Contractor

The above question is an important one, as the answer dictates your rights, obligations and duties towards your workers. If your worker is an employee, then their relationship with your business is governed by New Zealand employment law and their written employment agreement. However, if they are a contractor, then New Zealand employment laws do not apply to that relationship. If you get the relationship classification wrong, you may be exposing your business to significant liabilities. 

Interestingly, our law states that any description of the relationship made by the parties is not determinative. This means that despite the fact that a worker may have an employment agreement with your business, does not necessarily mean that the worker is, in fact, an employee.  

 

 

 

Employee Misconduct: To Suspend or Not to Suspend

Employee Misconduct: To Suspend or Not to Suspend

When an event happens in the workplace involving potential serious misconduct, the employer may elect to suspend the employee.  However, unless a proper process is followed the suspension can back-fire on the employer.

Starting point: 

The general rule for all employers is that an employer generally has no legal right to suspend an employee in the absences of a statutory or contractual right to do so. Therefore, it is crucial that the business’ employment agreements contain a robust suspension clause that gives an employer the option to suspend the employee.

 

 

The Silly Season: What are My Obligations as an Employer?

The Silly Season: What are My Obligations as an Employer?

With Christmas right around the corner, employers should be aware of their obligations to their employees. We have compiled a list of issues that employers should keep an eye out for during the silly season.

Alcohol in the workplace

Under the Health & Safety at Work Act 2015, employers are required to eliminate (or if it is not reasonably practicable to eliminate, then to minimise) risks to the health and safety of their employees.  To meet this obligation, employers are required to identify potential hazards, assess their severity and likelihood of occurrence and to then acting accordingly.  The legislation specifically includes alcohol as a potential hazard.