Minimum wage rates rise on 1 April
Each year the government reviews the minimum wage.
On 1 April 2018 the adult minimum wage will increase from $15.75/hour to $16.50/hour. The starting out and training minimum wages will increase from $12.60/hour to $13.20/hour.
We recommend you review all wage and salary structures to ensure your employees are paid at least the minimum wage at all times for hours worked.
It is well known that work required on the farm fluctuates throughout the year. You must ensure that your employees are receiving at least the applicable minimum wage rate for any hours worked at all times. This is the case even when your employees are paid a salary.
This may mean an employee’s pay needs to be topped up at certain times of the year to ensure they are paid at least the applicable minimum wage for the hours worked.
We also remind you that keeping and maintaining accurate time and wage records is vitally important, and a legal requirement of employers.
Gypsy Day approaching and Mycoplasma bovis
First detected in New Zealand in July 2017, Mycoplasma bovis (M.bovis)has become an issue for our agricultural sector.
Gypsy Day is fast approaching for our dairy farmers which sees increased stock movements around New Zealand. If you are buying cows, we recommend that you have the protection of a written agreement. This agreement can provide warranties and provisions around the rejection of animals.
Such protections are not available, obviously, when moving your own stock to another property you also own or on which you sharemilk. We recommend you check for Restricted Place Notices and Notices of Directions when moving stock/farms.
M.bovis is covered in more detail in our Autumn issue of Fineprint due to be published in early April.
In the meantime, if you have any queries around moving cows and/or would like to discuss a written agreement when buying cows, please contact us.
New milk cooling regulations
A reminder that the new milk cooling regulations for farm dairies will take effect on 1 June 2018. All farms must be compliant with the new regulations by this date.
Employment Relations Amendment Bill 2018: Changes afoot
The Employment Relations Amendment Bill 2018 was tabled in Parliament on 31 January 2018.
Some of the proposed amendments to our employment laws include changes to the 90-day trial periods, restoration of specific times for meal and rest breaks, restoration of some collective bargaining rights and the restoration of reinstatement as the primary remedy in personal grievance cases.
The Bill will now go through consultation through the select committee process. We will keep you up to date with further developments in future editions of Rural eSpeaking.