Government crackdown on employment contracts

The department’s employment relations chief advisor Craig Smith says while employment agreements have been required by law since the introduction of the Employment Relations Act 2000, there is evidence that many workplaces still don’t have employment agreements in place. “This July 1 deadline puts responsibility on all employers to ensure agreements are in place, or they may face penalties,” Smith warns.

“Recent changes to the Employment Relations Act give labour inspectors the ability to seek penalty against an employer who is in breach of employment agreement requirements,” he says. These are up to $10,000 for individuals and $20,000 for companies for failure to comply with the legislation.

“It’s the employer’s responsibility to maintain and keep an up to date copy of each employee’s employment agreement that reflects the current terms and conditions of the employment relationship. Employers must also provide copy of the agreement if an employee requests it.”

Where 90-day trial period is agreed between the employer and the employee it must be in the written employment agreement before the employment begins, otherwise the trial period doesn’t comply with the law, Smith also points out.

There are some provisions that must be included in employment agreements by law, and there are also number of minimum conditions that must be met regardless of whether they are included in agreements. The Department of Labour has developed an Employment Agreement Builder, to help create agreements.




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