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New Employment Law Provisions in force

Published: 18th March 2015

Author: Sarah Heald, Dorrington Poole

Published in: Rural e-Speaking | Issue #17

The Employment Relations Amendment Act 2014 came into effect on 6 March 2015 and makes some important changes to New Zealand’s employment law.

Key changes include:

  • Flexible working arrangements
  • Extending the statutory right to request flexible working arrangements to all employees (previously confined to caregivers)
  • Removing the requirement of six months’ prior employment with the employer, meaning employees can ask for flexibility from their first day on the job
  • Removing the limit on the number of requests an employee can make in a year, and
  • Reducing the timeframe within which an employer must respond to a request, from three months to one.

Rest and meal breaks

Changes are made to the rest and meal provisions, encouraging employers and employees to negotiate, in good faith, rest and meal breaks that meet the legislative requirements, without compromising business continuity and flexibility.

Continuity of employment

There are changes to the provisions covering transfer of employee entitlements and information to a new employer.

Good faith

Changes are made to the provisions requiring an employer to give an employee relevant information where they are proposing to make a decision that will, or is likely to, have an adverse effect on the continuation of that employee’s employment.

  • An employer must give the affected employee relevant confidential information about themselves. An employer doesn’t have to give the affected employee confidential information about another employee if doing so would involve an unwarranted disclosure of the affairs of that person, and
  • An employer does not have to give confidential information that legally must stay confidential, or where there is a good reason to keep the information confidential.

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