Employer rights and responsibilities

Once you’ve hired an employee, you and your employee can agree to better terms and conditions, but at least the minimum entitlements must be provided.

Give your employees the minimum employment rights

The law sets minimum employment rights that you must give your employees. These apply even if they are not written into an employment agreement. They cannot be reduced or traded off for other things.

You must:

Employment agreement builder – business.govt.nz(external link)

  • pay your employees at least the for all the hours they work
  • pay your employees in cash, unless they’ve agreed to receive it in a different way such as by direct credit
  • not take money (deduct) out of your employee’s wages unless the law allows it (like tax and student loan payments), or you have agreed in writing to have money taken out

Pay and wages

  • give your employees regular rest and meal breaks
    • for an 8-hour day – two 10-min breaks and one unpaid 30-min lunch break
    • for a 6-hour day – one 10-min break and one unpaid 30-min lunch break.
  • give your employees 4 weeks of paid annual holidays, after they’ve worked for 12 months
  • give your employees up to 12 paid public holidays if they fall on a day that they would usually work on
  • give your employees a paid alternative holiday if they’ve worked on a public holiday on a day they would usually work
  • give your employees 10 days of paid sick leave, after they’ve worked continuously for 6 months
  • give your employees bereavement leave, after they’ve worked continuously for 6 months
  • give your employees family violence leave, after they’ve worked continuously for 6 months

Pay for sick, bereavement and family violence leave

  • provide a workplace that is healthy and safe, and free from discrimination and bullying
  • consider flexible working arrangements
  • allow your employees to join a union if they want to, without any pressure to join, or not to join from anyone
  • talk to your employees in if there will be any changes to the workplace that might negatively affect their hours or role, for example, restructuring.

Your employees can also resign at any time by notifying you that they will be leaving and working the notice period set out in their contract.

Ending employment

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