10 expert insights: How to #beagoodboss

6 Mar 2019

2018 employment law trends focussed around employee wellbeing. 2018 was also the year of change, with a number of recent changes to employment law in New Zealand that employers need to be aware of. These include updates to rest and meal break entitlements, which will come into effect from May 6. Amid these changes, Hospitality NZ is offering a new training opportunity to our members: a nationwide roadshow on best practice in employment relations with our in-house legal team, which will be running at locations around the country until mid-April.

Here, Hospitality NZ Legal Advisor Sianatu Lotoaso has created an expert guide, on how to start, maintain and end an employment relationship in the right way.

Read on for our ten key insights on how to #beagoodboss.

ONE: Understand your employment agreement. Do you really know what you have signed up to? For example: what are your disciplinary procedures provisions? You will need to know these if you embark on a disciplinary procedure.

TWO: Take stock and ensure you have signed employment agreements for each employee. Employers are obliged to have signed employment agreements on record.

THREE: Carry out an audit of your employment agreements to ensure they meet at least minimum entitlements. Have you updated your contracts to reflect changes in the law?

FOUR: As part of step three, you should also ensure that your employment agreements reflect any changes in the employment relationship. For example: an employee may have been hired as a casual employee with irregular hours, but if they now have regular hours, this points to a permanent employment relationship.

FIVE: If you do have an employee on a casual agreement, place a calendar notification for six months to force yourself to check in about whether the relationship is still casual or not.

SIX: Check your policies around work place bullying, sexual harassment and reporting sickness procedures are up to date and in writing. If in doubt, spell it out.

SEVEN: Undertake an audit of annual leave. Excessive outstanding annual leave points to two issues: first, employees are not being rested and given the time to recover; and secondly, you may have major financial liability here particularly if a group of staff resign around the same time.

EIGHT: On the topic of annual leave entitlements, check that you are using the correct formula to calculate entitlements with regard to public holidays. For example, if Mary has worked the last seven Mondays out of 12, what is she entitled to under the holidays Act 2003 if she works on Easter Monday?

The 2017 Employment Relations Authority Wendco judgment provides helpful clarification on this.

NINE: If you are undertaking a disciplinary procedure, share all the information you are relying on to the employee in question. Don’t play hide and seek with key information, it’s not in line with natural justice where a person has a right to all the information for which they must answer to.

TEN: Communicate with employees about your expectations and standards. A lot of personal grievances come down to poor people management, which includes poor communication to employees about expectations and standards. Don’t avoid the difficult conversations, employers need to own and have these conversations early on to avoid costly outbursts later.

To sign up for the employment relations seminars that Hospitality NZ is running across the country, visit the events section of our website, or speak to your Regional Manager for more information.

Download our #beagoodboss guide

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