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Three Basic Tips For Every Employer

Oct 21, 2016

Employment Law for Employers


It is really easy for employers to get caught out in employment issues because they have failed to complete some simple legal requirements.

If you want to ensure you are covered for employment problems that commonly arise these are the first three essential steps you need to have covered:

1. Employment Agreement

A written employment agreement is the key document governing your employment relationship. It sets out the terms of the employment and the duties you and your employee are agreeing to perform for each other. The agreement is a legal requirement for every employment relationship and must be in writing. To ensure it is enforceable you need to set out certain conditions such as type of employment, holiday pay, annual leave, remuneration, health and safety, and hours of work. Your agreement must include or be accompanied by a job description setting out the day to day duties the employee is expected to perform. If you don't have a written agreement you could be in trouble in any dispute. To ensure your employment agreement is up to scratch we recommend getting it checked by a lawyer.

2. Minimum Wage

Employees must be paid at least the minimum wage for every hour worked, regardless of whether they are on a salary or an hourly wage. The minimum wage does change so it is important that you are aware of the current rate. An easy tip if you have salaried employees is to  calculate the maximum hours the employee can work within a pay period before their pay rate would drop below the current minimum wage. This will allow you to take steps so employees do not work more than those hours or if they do, how much extra compensation needs to be made. This applies even if an employee agrees to work extra time. Any agreement that breaches the minimum wage is illegal.

3. Wage and Time Recording

As an employer it is your duty to keep records of the wages paid to and hours worked by all employees. These records do not need to be complicated but will assist you if disagreements arise around wages, minimum entitlements, hours worked, holiday pay and leave owing. If your employee is a salaried employee who works ‘standard hours’ these records can be very simple. For anyone else I recommend time sheets are kept. Failure to keep accurate records could result in substantial penalties to you, the employer.

Navigating employment law can be a tricky business: these are just three essential minimum requirements. When setting up or reviewing your business it is important to ensure you are complying with New Zealand law. To make sure you are covered come and see one of our friendly team at Legal Solutions.