Employment Law Update

August 15th, 2018 - Barbara Buckett


As of 1st April, the minimum wage has increased to $15.75 per hour for employees over 16 and to $12.60 for employees starting out or in training.


The changes introduced in 2015 are now mandatory for all employment agreements, meaning existing contracts need to be updated. Key points include:

  • Restrictions on Zero Hour Contracts: employers must provide guaranteed minimum hours or include an availability provision

  • Justification for Exclusivity Provisions: agreements prohibiting secondary employment bust expressly provide reasons

  • Shift Cancellation Requirements: reasonable notice or compensation is needed from the employer and this must be specified in the employment agreement

BuckettLaw can provide template contracts that are fully updated to comply with these changes or to revise existing agreements, get in touch if we can help.


With immigration, already a hot topic the government has proposed some changes ahead of the November election that affect anyone employing overseas workers.

Highly skilled visas will only be available for jobs earning over the median wage of $49,000. In addition, workers on temporary visas will be subject to a three-year limit followed by a stand-down period.



Under this bill employees earning over $150,000pa will be able to contract out of their rights under the Employment Relations Act, specifically the personal grievance provisions.

The intention is to leave highly-paid executives to conduct their own bargaining. However, this exposes employers to other claims, such as breach of contract or wrongful dismissal, which are otherwise excluded under the ERA.


This bill places specific requirements on employers on how to deal with domestic violence in the workplace.

Domestic violence will be defined as a hazard under the Health and Safety at Work Act meaning that employers need to have a policy in place not only to assist employees who may be victims, but any alleged offenders as well.

Any employee who can prove they are a victim (or the immediate family of a victim) will also be entitled to 10 days leave annually and can apply for flexible working arrangements.


Following the recommendations of the Joint Working Group on Pay Equity and the recent Terranova case this bill introduces a claims process.

Any employee can bring a claim for equal pay, pay equity, or non-remuneration gender discrimination.

Employers can then enter into a bargaining process governed by the Employment Relations Act principles and have resort to existing employment relations dispute processes if bargaining reaches an impasse.

Something else to look out for is litigation around the distinction between employees and contractors following on from the Uber cases in the UK last year.


The last two years have been a period of significant change in employment law and employers can expect further new proposals ahead of the election. BuckettLaw is available to advise you or your business on how best to navigate these changes.

Phone: 04 472 8600
Email: matt@buckettlaw.co.nz

Matt Belesky
Employment Lawyer
BuckettLaw, Wellington

This article, and any information contained on our website is necessarily brief and general in nature, and should not be substituted for specific professional advice on any matter and should not be relied upon for that purpose. You should always seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters addressed.

Note: BuckettLaw takes no responsibility for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of our articles. Any views expressed or comments made in an article are the writers option only. The content in our articles does not constitute legal advice. If you need legal or expert advice you should obtain specific advice about your case or matter from a professional. For legal advice based on your individual situation please contact us to speak with one of our expert lawyers.

Enjoy a complimentary 15-minute phone call as a first-time offer.

Barbara Buckett

Barbara Buckett is a highly experienced senior employment lawyer with over 35 years of practice in New Zealand. She provides expert advice on all areas of employment law and has a proven track record of delivering excellent results for clients. Barbara has extensive experience in resolving workplace issues and is an experienced litigator. In her free time, she enjoys reading, traveling, working out, and fine wine and dining with friends.

Get new posts delivered to your inbox

Never miss anything!The BuckettLaw team will keep you up to date with employment law news & legal updates.

More Reading...

Free Phone Call With Our Expert Employment Lawyers

Consult our experts about your employment questions. Get a free 15 minute phone discussion.