This module reviewed by senior lawyers from Simpson Grierson was published for use on 31 March 2015.
The scope of this module includes:
- recruitment and selection
- orientation and training
- performance management (including managing poor performance)
- misconduct and termination
- remuneration and benefits
- Leave processing
- Parental leave
- cashing up 4th week
- change management
- employment agreements
NB: Health and safety is the subject of a separate module which is currently being updated following the introduction of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
The Employment Module has been updated to primarily address legislative changes and recent developments in case law.
Key changes within the module address the Employment Relations Amendment Act which came into force on 6 March 2015.
These changes are reflected, as is appropriate, within both the flow diagrams and supporting notes to the flow diagrams. Users are advised to re-familiarise themselves with the module to ensure internal processes comply with key changes. Should you require further clarification councils are advised to seek legal advice.
Changes to the Employment Relations Act 2000 as a result of the Amendment Act.
The aim of the changes to the Act is to create an employment relations framework that increases flexibility and choice, ensures a balance of fairness for employers and employees, and reduces compliance costs. The government is also seeking to reduce unnecessary regulation.
The Act has principally changed the following aspects:
(a) the 30-day rule (under which new employees in a position covered by a collective employment agreement (CEA) had to be covered by the CEA for the first 30 days of employment). This provision has been repealed to enable employers to offer individual terms and conditions, that are less than those in the collective agreement, within the first 30 days;
(b) the right to request flexible working arrangements is now available to all employees, not just those with caring responsibilities. The six-month period of employment before an employee had the right to request a flexible working arrangement has also been removed and the limit on the number of requests an employee may make for flexible working arrangements over a 12-month period has been removed. Employers must now consider requests within one month (from three months);
(c) the duty of good faith has been clarified in relation to disclosure requirements of confidential information to employees (in light of the Wrigley' Employment Court decision from 2010 -Vice Chancellor of Massey University v Wrigley  NZEmpC 52);
(d) the requirement to conclude a collective agreement has been removed. A party bargaining for a collective agreement can seek a determination from the Employment Relations Authority as to whether the bargaining has concluded and an employer can opt out of collective bargaining involving multiple employers;
(e) Part 6A of the Act, which relates to continuity of employment if an employee's work is affected by restructuring, has exemptions from certain requirements for small to medium-sized enterprises;
(f) rest and meal break provisions have less prescription now and greater flexibility, including provision for compensatory measures where there is a failure to provide a break;
(g) advance written notice for strikes and lockouts is now required and an employer can make specified pay deductions for partial strikes; and
(h) set timeframes for the Authority to release determinations, and extensions to some aspects of its jurisdiction, have been imposed.