Important law changes from April 2016

Date: 31st March 2016

A number of key changes come into effect this month, including an increase to the minimum wage, new health and safety regulations, and new employment standards. Here’s a quick summary.

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Minimum wage

The minimum wage will increase from $14.75 to $15.25 per hour. Training and new entrants’ minimum wages will increase from $11.80 to $12.20 per hour.

More information on the minimum wage can be found at Employment NZ.

Health and safety regulations

Changes to health and safety laws take effect from 4 April 2016. The new law says you need to take reasonably practical steps to manage any critical risks – those that could cause illness or injury serious enough to keep someone off work. Have you assessed how the new laws affect your business and implemented anything you need to? If not, contact us or read more about health and safety changes below.

Employment standards

The Employment Standards Legislation Bill has been passed, bringing into effect from 1 April 2016 some important changes to the employment statutes. These include extending parental leave, spearing zero hour contracts and strengthening compliance with minimum employment standards.

Parental leave

A greater range of people — for example, certain casual workers and seasonal workers, employees with more than one employer and those that have recently changed jobs — will have the opportunity to access paid parental leave, which is up to 18 weeks from 1 April onwards. The Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act will also extend to a wider range of primary carers than biological or formal adoptive parents.

Employees on paid leave will be able to take ‘keeping-in-touch’ days, enabling them to work limited hours during their paid leave period.

Zero hours contracts and other restrictions

Employers won’t be able to:

  • expect employees to be available to work without guaranteeing hours or paying reasonable compensation
  • cancel a shift without giving employees reasonable notice and reasonable compensation, both of which must be set out in an employment agreement
  • make unreasonable deductions from wages
  • unreasonably restrict an employee’s secondary employment

Enforcing minimum employment standards

Focused on ensuring employers pay at least minimum wage and give employees their proper holiday entitlements. Enforcement measures include a new infringement notice regime, clearer record-keeping requirements, and tougher sanctions for serious breaches such as exploitation.

Check employment records are comprehensive and employment agreements comply with the standards.

Read more

5 law changes that business owners should know about

Inland Revenue targeting business record keeping

Health & Safety alert!

What you need to know about health and safety law changes

6 myths about health and safety reforms

Managing health and safety in your business

New health and safety rules affect farmers

Need help?

As always, we’re here to help you with any of this. Please get in contact if you would like to discuss your business.



Posted in: Christchurch, Latest News, Queenstown, Wanaka