Before you place a candidate (prospective worker) into a business or organisation, and during their assignment, you should consider the steps below as part of your due diligence process:
- Establish if the employer’s business already undergoes checks for compliance with employment standards.
- Establish if the employer has been in breach of regulatory requirements relevant to employment-related worker terms and conditions, or is currently under investigation.
- Establish if the employer is proactive in ensuring that employees receive all their wage and legal entitlements.
- Establish continued fair treatment of worker after placement.
Establish if the employer’s business already undergoes checks for employment law requirements
If an employer already undertakes checks or audits for compliance with employment standards this may provide assurance that the employer is compliant. Some industry associations require members to undergo audits that include how they treat their workers. Any deficiencies found through such reviews should have been addressed with utmost priority, with the focus on ensuring that any shortcoming in entitlements was remedied.
One way to do this is to ask the following questions:
1. Does the business undertake a third-party or internal audit that checks for fair treatment of workers, including compliance with employment standards? If yes, please provide details:
- Name of the audit/certification/programme?
- Frequency of the audit?
- When the audit was last conducted?
- Were there any issues identified and/or action(s) taken to resolve the issues?
- Does the employer have a membership with an industry body or association?
2. If the employer is part of a business or industry association or body please name them.
Establish if the employer has been in breach of regulatory requirements relevant to employment
If the employer has breached employment related standards, confirmation of the actions taken to resolve the issues should be sought. In some cases the resolution of the issues could have resulted in the business putting in improved and effective systems for compliance. You should determine if this has occurred. You should also consider the potential risks of placing a client into a business whose employer is currently under investigation.
You can ask the following questions:
- Is the employer currently on the 'stand down list' below that affects their ability to recruit migrant labour as a result of having breached employment standards or immigration rules?
- Has the employer ever breached employment standards as found by the Labour Inspectorate, Employment Relations Authority (ERA) or Employment Court? If unsure, you can check their databases below.
- Is the employer currently party to legal proceedings claiming non-compliance with employment standards? This information may not be publicly available, and should be requested from the employer directly in the first instance. They are not obliged to answer. However, if they decline to provide an answer you may find this is useful information to decide whether you want to engage with this employer.
- Has the employer ever had migrant workers on site that do not have lawful immigration authority to work, as found by Immigration New Zealand? If yes, please provide details.
Be proactive in ensuring candidates receive all their wage and legal entitlements
You should ask for documentation as evidence of the employer’s responses to the questions below.
- Questions 1 to 3 are legal requirements and must be met by any employer you are looking to place workers with.
- Questions 4 and 5 are good practice rather than legislative requirements.
1. Do their employees have written employment agreements, individual employment agreements or collective agreements? If yes, check if the employment is compliant with the minimum details that an employment agreement must contain
2. Do they keep accurate and up-to-date records of wages, time, leave and holidays?
3. Do they pay their employees minimum wage or above for every hour worked?
4. Do they provide their employees with regular payslips? Pay slips are not mandatory, but employees can ask for one at any time and the employer must provide them with information about their pay and leave.
5. Are employees provided with information about their employment rights?
For employers who cannot demonstrate compliance with at least questions 1 to 3 above, there is information and resources available to help them comply:
- Employment agreement builder will help employers write up a compliant employment agreement.
- Minimum employment rights and responsibilities booklet will help them understand employment legislation
- Employment Learning modules: They can also do the online employer learning modules and get their employees to do the employee learning modules.
Establish continued fair treatment of candidates after placement
Once your placed candidate has started in their role, you should check they are being treated fairly. You should ask the placed employee the following questions:
1. Were you provided with and can you access a copy of your written employment agreement?
2. Are you provided with a regular payslip?
3. Do you feel that you are aware of your employment rights?
- Have you been given any advice or told where to find more information?
4. Do you have to pay for your own safety equipment or anything that is required to do the job?
5. Do you get paid for all hours that you work?
- Did you get paid while you were doing the training required to do your job?
6. Have any of your conditions changed or gotten worse since you started the job?
7. Do you know how to raise an employment issue with your employer?
8. Are you paid at least the minimum wage or above?
9. If boarding and meals are part of your payment is the cost reasonable and is your accommodation of a legal standard? For more information, see deductions and Service tenancy – Tenancy Services (external link)
10. Has your employer asked you to pay back part or all of your wages, or made any deduction of your wages that you have not agreed to it in writing?
11. Do they have written policies, like a code of conduct, dealing with bullying, sexual harassment or discrimination?
You should continue to monitor for compliance with timely checks
- The first check should be completed within the first month of employment.
- The second check completed after the first 6 months of employment.
- Following checks are made every 12 months (annually), starting 18 months from after the employment started.
If any of the responses to these questions above raise concerns then this should be discussed with the employer and a resolution sought.
Where practicable, the employer should also be required to immediately inform you if the following occurs:
- Their business is investigated by the Labour Inspectorate or Immigration New Zealand.
- There are changes to the working arrangements with any employees that you have placed.