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Legal Health Check for Businesses

Published: 3rd December 2015

Author: Tristram Lock, Law North Limited

Published in: Fine Print | Issue #68

It’s essential for your business to be compliant

Another trading year is almost at an end. You concentrated on increasing business income, you’ve built (or improved) your business systems, you believed in yourself and your product/service and profits have improved.

However, whilst you have been busy minding your own business you may have only briefly considered how changes in legislation or regulations might affect your business, and how you may need to adjust your management systems to include those changes. Below we note some recent legislative changes that you should already have adopted into your business processes. We also alert you to upcoming changes so you can make preparations to ensure that your business complies as soon as they come into force.

Employment Relations Act 2000

Changes to flexible working arrangements came into force on 6 March 2015. Your employees may now request a variation of their working arrangements (without requiring a reason to be given). An unlimited number of requests for flexible working arrangements can now be made.

To ask for flexible working arrangements, your employee’s request must be in writing, stating their name, the date the request is made and that the request is made under Part 6AA of the Act. They must also specify whether the request is permanent or temporary, the dates that the arrangements are to begin (and end, if a temporary arrangement), and provide an explanation in their view of what arrangements within the business you as their employer will need to make to accommodate the new arrangements, if the request is granted.

As an employer, you have a maximum of one month to grant or refuse the request. The decision must be notified to your employee in writing. A request may only be refused on the grounds contained in the Act and reasons must be provided for relying upon the particular grounds of refusal.

The grounds for refusing a request are an inability to reorganise work amongst existing staff or to recruit additional staff, detrimental impact on quality, the performance or inability to meet customer demand, insufficiency of work during any proposed period of work, planned structural changes and the burden of additional costs.

The request must be refused if a collective agreement applies to the employment. If you don’t comply with this legislation, the Employment Relations Authority could impose a fine of up to $2,000 per breach. The fine would be payable to your employee.

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  • Otago
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Edmonds Marshall

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John Buchanan moved from Thames to Matamata to open another office of Buchanan & Purnell in 1918. Mr Buchanan was also Mayor of the Matamata Borough Council from 1941-1942 and he played a large part within the Matamata community, inaugurating several of the local sports clubs.

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Gawith Burridge

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