Triangular employment situations

Find out about employment rights in a triangular employment situation.

A triangular employment situation is where there are 3 parties in an employment arrangement:

  • an employer
  • an employee, and
  • a third party, responsible for directing the employee's day-to-day work.

Common triangular employment situations include when someone is:

  • employed by a recruitment agency, and is sent on work assignments to another organisation (sometimes called labour-for-hire or temping)
  • an employee of one organisation is placed on a secondment for a fixed time with another organisation.


A secondment is a temporary arrangement between an employer and an employee that allows the employee to work within a different department, or with a different company completely. Secondments enable employees to add to their skill set and experience while helping employers to fill vacant roles. The rules on secondments in New Zealand’s public sector are laid out in the Public Service Act 2020.

Secondment - Public Service Act 2020 – New Zealand Legislation(external link)

Rights in a triangular employment situation

In a triangular employment situation, all the usual employment rights apply. If there are issues with either the employer or the third party the employee is carrying out work for, speaking to the party the employee is having issues can be a good start. If the employee cannot resolve the issue, then the employee can raise a personal grievance against either the employer, the third party, or both.

Personal grievance

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