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Government to set up new health and safety agency

Written by Alison Maelzer on March 8th, 2013.

The creation of a stand-alone Crown agent was a key recommendation of the Royal Commission on the Pike River Coal Mine Tragedy.  The Government has now announced that it will create this agency, and that according to new Labour Minister Simon Bridges;  “The new agency will have a dedicated focus on health and safety and underlines the Government’s strong commitment to addressing New Zealand’s workplace fatality and serious injury rates,”

Legislation Update

Written by Jim Roberts and Michael O'Brien on March 8th, 2013.

Given the summer holiday, one would expect little to report in the way of proposed legislative changes to employment law.  The Government clearly didn’t get that memo!  Since November, it has announced changes about the transfer of employees and when employers have to disclose information, introduced a new apprenticeship scheme, announced an increase to the minimum wage, and, finally, appointed a new Labour Minister!  
Topics: Employment Law

Court rules competing rights trump religious belief at work

Written by Jim Roberts & Sarah Holderness on March 8th, 2013.

Recently, the European Court of Human Rights (“ECHR”) ruled on claims brought by four applicants based upon what they saw as discrimination against them in their workplaces on the grounds of religion.
Topics: Employment Law

Two Degress of Separation: How Not to Vary and Employment Agreement

Written by Michael O'Brien on March 8th, 2013.

The Employment Relations Authority’s decision in Edwards v Two Degrees Mobile Ltd serves as a reminder to employers of the fundamental requirement to reduce agreements to writing.  It also demonstrates that attempts by employers to unilaterally impose new or amended conditions on employees are unlikely to succeed. 

KiwiSaver V Minimum Wage - It's a Knockout!

Written by Alison Maelzer & Michael O'Brien on March 8th, 2013.

In the recent decision of Faitala v Terranova Homes & Care Ltd, the Employment Court firmly rejected an employer’s position that it was entitled to deduct the employer’s compulsory KiwiSaver contribution from employee’s gross wages – but only when such a deduction would take the employees’ pay below the level prescribed by Minimum Wage Act 1983.

Topics: Employment Law

Tomorrow Doesn't Work for Me, Nor Does Any Other Day - Let's Just Not Bother: An Employee's Refusal to Attend a Disciplinary Meeting

Written by Alison Maelzer on March 8th, 2013.

We are quite often asked what to do if an employee just won’t turn up to a disciplinary meeting.  Do you have to delay forever? Can you box on and hold the meeting without the employee in question?  And then what?
Topics: Employment Law

Dismissals in the Spotlight - Employee nearly kills a colleague but gets awarded $10,000

Written by Jodi Sharman on March 8th, 2013.

In the first few months of 2013 we have seen numerous articles in the media reporting on cases where employees have been dismissed, including a swearing and speeding nanny and a drunk employee at a Christmas party.  One dismissal in particular was picked up by John Banks, Leader of the ACT Party, to propose changes to New Zealand’s law concerning dismissals.
Topics: Employment Law

Don't Let the truth get in the way of a good story

Written by Jim Roberts on March 8th, 2013.

The New Zealand Herald reported on 21 January 2013 about a manager at Independent Liquor (referred to using the Bond-esque title “Mr X”) who was accused of being drunk and misbehaving while representing the company, and then dismissed.  The media’s interest was stirred as Mr X had been awarded $62,000 in compensation for his (unjustified) dismissal.  Looking at just those facts, one could easily think that the world had gone mad.
Topics: Employment Law

Your 'How-To' guide to Directors' duties

Written by Sarah Gibbs on February 11th, 2013.

By Sarah Gibbs, Senior Solicitor and Taryn Doherty, Solicitor
The recent slew of high profile cases involving directors of failed finance companies highlights the need for all current and would-be directors to understand and sufficiently perform their directors' duties. This article provides a snapshot of directors’ duties under the Companies Act 1993 (the "Act") and a practical guide on how these can be satisfied.

Planning - Where is Your Business Heading?

Written by Sarah Gibbs on February 11th, 2013.

Successfully positioning your business for the future in terms of growth, succession or exit is crucially important for all businesses regardless of size or stage in the business life cycle. Without planning, business owners assume significant financial risk that translates into missed opportunities, wasted potential and an inability to transition ownership or maximise price upon sale. So, what's your plan?

Changes to Company and Director Information Requirements – Will they affect your company?

Written by Sarah Gibbs on February 11th, 2013.

The Companies and Limited Partnership Amendment Bill ("Bill") proposes key changes to company director requirements which may affect up to 4,200 companies. This article outlines some key changes which may apply to your company.
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