The landscape is changing, with medicinal cannabis now legalised and an upcoming referendum testing the appetite for the legalisation of personal use of cannabis. So, what is the impact on drug testing in the workplace, and the systems that employers already have in place?
On 14 March 2020, as part of its budget announcement, the Government outlined that the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy would be extended.
The government has announced that New Zealand will move to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 from 28 April 2020 for two weeks, at which time it will be reviewed. Under Level 3, people are required to work at home unless that is not possible. Workplaces can only open if Workers cannot work from home; and Workplaces are operating safely; and Customers are not allowed on premises; and Businesses can trade without physical contact. Does this affect your business?
With the announcement that New Zealand moves to Alert Level 3 on 28 April 2020, many businesses are asking what they need to do to prepare for a return to the workplace. Health and safety planning will be needed to ensure that effective COVID-19 controls are in place and that the health and safety of workers, and other people, is not put at risk.
On 2 April 2020, the Government announced an “essential workers leave scheme” in relation to essential workers who are unable to work from home and become sick or are vulnerable, or who have sick or vulnerable members of their household.
Following the government’s announcement yesterday, you may be wondering what you need to do with your staff. All non-essential businesses are required to close from 11:59pm on Wednesday 25 March 2020.
COVID-19 is already having an impact on the workplace with many employers having hard conversations about the many ways that this pandemic may affect their operations and, therefore, their employees. Many of the issues created by this public-health crisis are unprecedented, resulting in difficult questions being raised over how employers are expected to react.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is looking at reclassifying contractors and, if imposed, this could change the contractor landscape.
MBIE recently released a discussion document, Better Protections for Contractors, seeking public feedback on MBIE’s proposed options to address its concerns of misclassification of employees as “independent contractors,” and workers who are in the “grey zone” between employees and contractors.
Many employers and employees use the festive season to take planned holidays, manage leave balances, and in some cases close the office, factory or shop. Amanda Douglas and Anthony Drake explain some of the employer's obligations.
In our experience, the lead up to Christmas and the New Year is when employers often look ahead to their staffing needs for the upcoming year. Often, it is at this time that employers identify employment issues.
On 6 May 2019, changes to the Employment Relations Act 2000 came into force that change how employers should deal with rest and meal breaks.
Generally, one in five New Zealanders will experience a mental health problem this year, and more than 50% will go through mental distress or mental illness at some point in their lives. We see in the media that, when it comes to men, they are generally less likely to talk about their mental health and can be reluctant to reach out for help or support. This is something that employers need to be alive to when considering the health and safety of all their employees.
New law, to make provision for victims of domestic violence, comes into force on 1 April 2019.
Those affected by domestic violence will be entitled to: 10 days domestic violence leave per year, ask for short-term flexible working options and not be discriminated against due to being affected by domestic violence.
On 6 December 2018, the Government passed its flagship Employment Relations Amendment Bill.
The Bill seeks to restore a number of minimum standards and protections for employees, as well as strengthen collective bargaining and union rights in the workplace.
There has been a lot of news headlines about liquidations. So, if you are finding things tough, what can you do? Staff costs are a large expense for any business. Often, you can rearrange your staffing to be more efficient. To do this, you need to carry out a restructure process, which can involve looking at your organisational structure to determine whether any positions can be merged or whether any positions can be removed.
Amanda Douglas writes for the Human Resources Magazine, detailing the steps to follow for legislative compliance when recruiting.
With a new government comes new legislative changes. Following announcements by the Labour Government that changes would be made to employment laws , the Employment Relations Amendment Bill has now been introduced into Parliament.
The Labour-led Government has announced that the use of 90 day trial periods will be prohibited for any business that employs more than 19 employees.
The Bill proposing the changes is expected to be introduced to Parliament on Monday 29 January 2018
Employers will need to be aware of the upcoming changes to parental leave which will take effect in mid-2018.
Recent decisions of the Employment Relations Authority indicate that the Labour Inspectorate is cracking down on workplaces to ensure that minimum employment standards are being met.
Amanda Douglas writes for the Human Resources Magazine regarding the employers obligation to ensure that employees are provided with the required training and development necessary to complete the job they are hired to carry out.
As time moves on from 14 November, the wider issues related to the damage begin to emerge.
One such issue is the effect of disruption to work due to damage to buildings, loss of suppliers, broken or impassable roads. There is a particular effect on trucking, transport and tourism companies which rely on our roads and infrastructure to carry out their businesses, but there will be others who find the jobs that they are providing are disrupted.
If you employ people or operate a workplace that others come to, and you have been affected by the recent earthquakes, you are likely to be thinking about your health and safety obligations. In an emergency situation like this, what is required of those who control a place of work mostly comes down to common sense. Your key drivers will be to ensure that people are not exposed to harm.
Statistics NZ says that 170,000 workers in our economy do not have written employment agreements. If you or your business is employing someone, it is a legal requirement to have a written employment agreement in place, even if the worker is part-time or casual.
We advise all clients to include a 90 day trial period in the employment agreements for new employees who have not worked for your company before.
A recent decision of the Employment Relations Authority* means that the employment contract needs to clearly specify when the 90 day trial period begins.
Changes to employment law came into force in April of this year. In light of these changes, employers may be required to update their employment agreements. Employers will have until 1 April 2017 to ensure their existing employment agreements are compliant with the new laws.
A recent decision of the Employment Relations Authority has highlighted the importance of procedural fairness when disciplining staff for a failed drug test.
It is true that all organisations are going to be affected by the changes to the Act and that the duties of care imposed cannot be transferred or insured against, but it must be made clear that many organisations who prioritise health and safety will be already doing most of what is required.
There have been multiple changes to New Zealand's employment law framework. The biggest of these, changes to the Employment Relations Act, take effect from today. But there are some other changes too which employers will benefit from being aware of.
A number of private prosecutions under the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 (HSEA) have been signalled in recent months. Having recently been counsel in a HSEA private prosecution, Tim Mackenzie outlines the issues that practitioners considering a HSEA prosecution should consider.
Registering an interest
Any party interested in a potential prosecution must first formally notify Worksafe New Zealand (Worksafe) of an interest in any enforcement action being taken. Worksafe must then advise the interested party of any decisions taken including a decision not to prosecute.
If Worksafe declines to prosecute it is sensible for your client to consider their reasons and give weight to them.
As discussed in our previous articles Impact of Health and Safety Reforms at Governance Level and Government Announces Law Reform Package for Workplace Safety, the Government’s “Working Safer” package aims to significantly reform New Zealand’s Health and Safety law.
One of the most fundamental components of this change will be the introduction of entirely new legislation. This will replace the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 (HSE).
Recently, increased workplace safety attention has been directed toward the governing level of employer organisations.
Particular catalysts for this have been the two recent Royal Commissions of Inquiry (Pike River and Canterbury Earthquakes), and a report from the cabinet appointed Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety (the Taskforce).
Existing use rights under the Resource Management Act (RMA) have an important role to play in the Rebuild of Christchurch.
Recently the Government announced its intention to overhaul the current employment health and safety laws, through the release of the Reform Package Working Safer – A blueprint for Health and Safety at Work. The Reform Package represents the most significant reform of New Zealand's workplace health and safety regime in 20 years.
You are required under the Land Transport Act 1998 ("the Act") to hold and maintain a Transport Service Licence ("TSL"). If you lose your TSL, you cannot lawfully operate.
2013 looks to be the year that the Government will implement many of its pre-election policies. On 26 April 2013, the Employment Relations Amendment Bill ("the Bill") was introduced by the Minister of Labour. The Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee has now called for submissions on the Bill.
Many employment agreements contain a bonus provision which will often be couched in terms that, on the face of it, seem to vest complete control of the operation of the bonus with the employer.
On 11 June 2013, the Local Government and Environment Select Committee released its report on the Resource Management Reform Bill with a majority recommendation that it be passed with amendment.
Everyone knows that an employee who turns up at work under the influence of drugs or alcohol poses a very real risk not only just to their own safety but also to the safety of other employees and customers - especially where the operation of heavy machinery is involved. This doesn't always (but can) involve blatant drug or alcohol use at work. Sometimes, as an employer, you are dealing with the after-effects of drug or alcohol use by your employee the night before. In other instances, you are trying to screen for drugs and alcohol in a safety sensitive area.
The Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Bill was introduced in Parliament on 16 May 2013. A very short period of consultation was allowed, with submissions to the Select Committee due on 30 May 2013.
On 29 January 2013, the Construction Contracts Amendment Bill (the "Bill") was introduced to Parliament. The Bill proposes changes to extend the application of the Construction Contracts Act (the "CCA") to residential construction contracts, and to widen the group of professionals covered by the CCA. It also proposes to amend the enforcement and adjudication processes and to allow more direct enforcement of determinations under the CCA.
The Christchurch Central City Recovery Plan could result in the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority compulsorily acquiring large tracts of the central city for the Anchor Projects.
If you sell or transfer your business, you need to consider the employment consequences of selling the business or transferring the business to another entity. Many employers do not think about this. However, when you do sell your business to a third party, or even transfer it to an associated entity, you trigger the restructuring and redundancy provisions of the Employment Relations Act 2000 ("ERA 2000"). If you don’t have the right measures in place, this can be costly – even where the employees continue in their same roles with the new employer or entity.
Many local authorities around the country are in the process of reviewing regional and district plans, prior to notifying proposed new versions of those documents. Interested persons will be able to lodge submissions and further submissions on the proposed plans.
One of our resource management partners Amanda Douglas writes an article for the Q& M New Zealand Quarrying & Mining about the Resource Management Act.
Many landowners in the central city have now received letters from CERA, the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority, informing them that their land in the central city has been designated for Anchor Projects under the Central City Recovery Plan. This article describes the processes of designation, acquisition and compensation under the CER Act.
The Government has announced further reforms to the Employment Relations Act (the "Act") which it proposes to include in legislation, which would come into effect in the second half of 2013.
Road Metals Company Limited (Road Metals) sought consent to establish and operate a quarry, involving surface extraction of river metals from a property in Burnham adjacent to Rolleston. Both district and regional consents were needed.
The blueprint for the Central City has been released, so what does it mean – particularly if you own property in the Central City? How does it affect existing activities in the new zones?
Did you hear the one about the developer, the contractor, the sub-contractor and the engineer? The contractor was responsible for the earthworks, the sub contractor carried out the works, the developer assured the contractor that no resource consents were required and the engineer oversaw the project. Who do you think was prosecuted when unconsolidated sediment made its way into streams and, ultimately, the sea, following heavy rain?
The Akaroa Harbour Marine Protection Society Inc (the "Society") made an application in 1995 seeking a marine reserve within the Akaroa Harbour. The Minister of Conservation (the "Minister") declined the application on the basis that the reserve would unduly interfere with or adversely affect existing recreational use of the area, particularly for recreational fishing.
This Bill aims to improve the operation of local government and the delivery of public services by focusing councils on operating more efficiently and within a more confined sphere than currently.
Following the February 22 earthquake, new Orders in Council have been made under the Canterbury Earthquake Response and Recovery Act 2010 (enacted following September 2010 earthquake).
The Biosecurity Law Reform Bill was introduced to Parliament on 10 December 2010. It has been referred
to the Primary Production select committee, with submissions due by Thursday 10 February 2011.
The Aquaculture Legislation Amendment Bill (No 3) was introduced in Parliament on 16 November 2010. It has been referred to the Primary Production select committee, with submissions due by Friday 11 February 2011.
The Central Plains Water saga - all the way up to the Supreme Court, and this is just the preliminary
skirmishing. The hearing of CPW's application to take water for irrigation, by the Council's commissioners,
has not yet concluded - so appeals on the actual application are still just a twinkle in the parties' eyes.
The Courts in this litigation examined the relationship between existing use rights and the permitted
baseline, and the relationship between the common law permitted baseline and the statutory permitted
baseline. They also provided guidance on the date at which existing use rights are assessed, where
activities lessen over time and further restricting rules are introduced.
Finally, a warning sounded by the Court in the case of Briggs v Christchurch City Council, where the Court
said it was drawing a line in the sand about parties giving expert evidence to the Court in their own cases.
The Court of Appeal's decision in this case produced a major change in the approach which should be taken
to prohibited activity status. There was a very restricted view taken by the lower courts in this case, and
other cases. The Court of Appeal has said that there are quite a few circumstances in which it is
appropriate to make an activity a prohibited activity in a plan.
This paper sets out some of the amendments brought into effect by the Resource Management (Simplifying
and Streamlining) Amendment Act 2009, which impact on resource consent applications. Whether you are
a council planner applying the amendments to the processing of an application or a consultant planner
preparing an application and steering it through the processing stage, you need to know the ins and outs of
An outline of the amendments to the Resource Management Act which came into effect on 1 October
2009, with particular focus on amendments which impact on the processes and practices of transport
engineers and planners.
The Resource Management (Simplifying and Streamlining) Amendment Act 2009 came into effect on 1
October 2009, bringing a number of changes aimed at ‘simplifying and streamlining’ a number of resource