New Employment Obligations In The Employment Standards Legislation Bill


A new Bill dealing with zero hour contracts, extending parental leave and setting greater employer obligations has now passed its third reading in Parliament and comes into force on 1 April 2016.

The changes to employment law by the Employment Standards Legislation Bill effect both employers and employees. They include:

Extending paid parental leave to provide wider coverage and more flexibility. The update provides the following:

• Extending parental leave payments to non-standard workers and those who have recently changed jobs;
• Extending entitlements to a wider group of carers rather than just biological and formal adoptive parents;
• Increased flexibility in how unpaid parental leave is taken;
• Introducing “Keeping in Touch” hours in the paid leave period;
• Extending unpaid leave to workers who have been with their employers for more than six months, but less than twelve months; and
• Allowing workers to resign and still receive payments.

Strengthening enforcement of employment standards including:

• Tougher sanctions;
• Clearer record keeping requirements;
• Increased tools for labour inspectors; and
• Increased access to the Employment Relations Authority or Court, rather than automatic mediation.

Addressing zero hour contracts and other “unfair practices”.

• Where an employer and an employee agree to a set number of hours, these must be recorded in the employment agreement.

In accordance with our obligations under the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006, we cannot provide legal advice unless you have become a client of Smith and Partners and have received our Terms & Conditions of Engagement and Info for Clients. 

If you would like advice on any employment law related matters, please contact Suzanne Sumner, Personal Assistant to employment law expert, Carolyn Ranson to find out how you can become a client of Smith and Partners and to set up an appointment to discuss your employment matter with Carolyn. 

Suzanne Sumner

Ph: 09 837 6840


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