• We are BuckettLaw, Wellington’s
    pre-eminent employment law firm.

    As employment law experts, we provide specialist legal advice, support and advocacy for employers and employees nationwide.
    Your first email or phone contact is free.

  • Providing timely and expert legal advice since 1998, BuckettLaw is led by leading employment law specialist Barbara Buckett. Our team of employment lawyers is committed to achieving the best possible outcome for clients, whilst also providing an efficient and cost-effective service.

  • Piecing together your Business’s Employment Relations Requirements

    BuckettLaw has extensive experience advising and representing employers from a range of industries and backgrounds. Whether you are a small, medium or large business, BuckettLaw can service all your employment relations needs.

  • Kicked to the Curb? BuckettLaw can assist

    BuckettLaw has represented a vast number of employees in work-related disputes. As a specialist firm, BuckettLaw can ensure your case, and upholding your rights, is our number one priority.

  • Located in the heart of Wellington City, BuckettLaw services clients nationwide, with a strong presence in certain regions. If you are unsure whether you need an employment lawyer, or want a preliminary discussion on your employment issue, get in touch with one of our employment lawyers right away.

We are BuckettLaw, Wellington’s pre-eminent employment law firm.

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Disaster Zone - Preparing Your Business For The Worst

Living and working in Wellington the possibility of a natural disaster is something everyone needs to be aware of. While disasters cannot be averted, the impact on your business, from an employment standpoint is easily minimised. This week we look at what employers can do to be prepared.

When Disaster Strikes

As a starting point, all businesses need to have evacuation plans in place and communicate these to all employees. This will depend based on the type of event that occurs, for instance a different evacuation point will be needed for a flood or tsunami than a fire. Regular drills are an easy way to keep everyone updated but disaster preparation can be added on to other professional development or product knowledge trainings. In the wake of recent events employers should also consider response plans for terror attacks.

In the immediate aftermath, it will help to have pre-prepared communications to send to employees, insurers, and other affected parties. BuckettLaw can help draft these to protect your rights and interests.

Getting Back to Business

In the likely event that your offices or workplace are unable to be accessed in the immediate aftermath you will need a plan of action to continue business. Relocation is the best solution, whether that involves a temporary workplace, movement of staff to other sites, or allowing staff to work from home. Unless there are contractual arrangements in place affected employees will need to consent to relocation and negotiations regarding costs and access to equipment maybe required.

Ensuring the workplace is safe for occupation before allowing employees to re-enter is essential as employees can refuse to work under the Health and safety at Work Act 2015 if they believe doing so is hazardous. Employers will need to liaise with building owners and/or local/central government to arrange a building assessment. Acquainting yourself with the relevant policies and officers at your local authority now will facilitate this process.

To Pay or Not to Pay

The default position for employers is to pay staff when they are willing but unable to work. This can be a major financial hardship if your business is suspended or forced to shut down for a period. Don’t get caught in a situation where your contracts are silent and the only alternative is to negotiate with panicked employees at a time when the future of your business is unclear.

While government support (such as the Earthquake Support subsidy) may be available you should consider business interruption insurance to help cover wages in the event of a closedown period.

Making It Easy – How We Can Help

By including force majeure terms in employment agreements, you can ensure that employees business can continue with minimal interruption. These terms should cover several possibilities such as:


  1. Requiring employees to use annual leave in the interim between a disaster occurring and re-entry to the workplace
  2. Determining how employees can be redeployed/relocated when a workplace is closed/inaccessible
  3. Specifying when a redundancy will be triggered
  4. Outlining the rights and obligations of each party if the business has to be closed down


BuckettLaw, the employment law experts, can help draft these terms to suit your business. Get in touch today and get prepared.

Contact Us

P: +64 4 472 8600

Physical Address:
1/309 Willis Street
Te Aro, Wellington

Postal Address:
PO Box 6137
Marion Square, Wellington 6141

Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30AM-5:00PM

E: reception@buckettlaw.co.nz



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