Statistics NZ have determined that more than 170,000 workers (almost 1 in 10 employees) do not have their employment terms and conditions in writing.
Under New Zealand law every employee must have a written employment agreement, whether this be individual or collective (union), and employers must retain a copy of the agreement on file.
Part-time, and particularly casual workers, were the worst affected, with one third of casual workers and 17.4 percent of part-time workers reporting they had no written agreement.
Industries identified as most likely to breach this legal requirement are agriculture, forestry and fishing with 20 percent of employees reporting absence of agreements, followed closely by construction, accommodation and food services with 15 percent.
The Employment Standards Act, passed in March this year, gave the inspectorate the power to issue infringement notices to employers who fail to provide their workers with written employment agreements. It could impose a fine of $1,000 for each breach, up to a maximum of $20,000 over a three-month period, with additional fines for having no records.
Now would be a good time to check that each of your employees has been issued and signed an agreement outlining their employment conditions and terms, and you hold a copy for your records. This is also the time to review the terms to ensure they are still relevant and current with legal minimum requirements.
Here at Ean Brown Partners Ltd we offer employment relations and human resource consulting services, including advice on employment agreements and employment legislation. Contact us for assistance with getting your employee records in order - it could prove to be a costly exercise if you are caught out!