Recently we have noticed a number of employers getting themselves in trouble when it comes to the disciplinary process. Often, these employers will have a good idea of what the employee has done wrong, but keep that detail to themselves. The key is not just knowing the details of an employee’s misconduct, but in sharing that information with the employee.
In this update, we summarise significant decisions released in the first half of 2015.
Tiled Showers have the potential to become the new "leaky" issue for unsuspecting vendors and purchasers. The current trend in bathroom renovations, (particularly in homes considered more upmarket), is to replace stainless steel or acrylic shower trays and liners with fully tiled shower cubicles and/or wet rooms. This trend has undoubtedly been assisted by the recent popularity of home renovation shows on television and the fact that rising Auckland house prices mean home owners have increased equity against which they can borrow to fund major renovations.
There has been a lot of comment in recent months about changes to rest and meal break entitlements. Based on those comments, one could be forgiven for thinking the world was ending. Take one union as an example: they described the changes as nothing less than a “radical attack” on the rights of Kiwi workers.
New director residency requirements are about to be introduced for all New Zealand Companies. These changes come into effect on 1 May 2015, with all existing companies having an additional 180 days to comply with the new requirements (so by 28 October 2015).
For a long time, enforcement of employment standards has been a bit of the proverbial slap on the hand with a wet bus ticket. However, things are about to get quite a lot tougher for employers who intentionally break the rules around minimum wage, leave, and record-keeping.
This year ANZAC Day falls on a Saturday. Thanks to amendments to the Holidays Act 2003, this means the public holiday is ‘Mondayised’.
In a first for New Zealand, a Company Director has been sentenced to a custodial sentence (four months’ home detention) following a conviction under HASIE. His company was also fined $60,000.
In addition to this watershed case, a number of other high-profile prosecutions are keeping WorkSafe NZ firmly in the public eye, and the media spotlight.
Helen Macfarlane, together with Christina Bryant, Nick Gillies and Michael O'Brien are the authors of the New Zealand chapter of the 2015 edition of “Getting the Deal Through: Construction”. Getting the Deal Through works with many of the best lawyers and law firms in the world to bring together a unique legal information resource, written by experts on each subject area, in every significant jurisdiction.
Link reproduced with permission from Law Business Research Ltd. This article was first published in Getting the Deal Through: Construction 2015, (chapter published online in March 2015; contributing editor: Robert S Peckar, Peckar & Abramson, PC) For further information please visit www.gettingthedealthrough.com.
Since its introduction twelve years ago, the Construction Contracts Act 2002 (CCA) has become a cornerstone of New Zealand's construction sector. The CCA followed similar statutory interventions in the UK and NSW by seeking principally to redress the perceived power imbalance between principals and contractors and between contractors and subcontactors.
Wage and time records are not the sexiest or most captivating aspect of employment law. Indeed, it is an element of HR that is easy for even the best, most diligent practitioners to forget. However, while it may not be particularly exciting, a recent case in the Employment Relations Authority (Shi v Advanced Computers Limited  NZERA Auckland 23) highlights the importance for employers of keeping these records. In this case, the employee claimed that he had not been paid for the hours that he had worked.
There have been a number of recent cases where beneficiaries have gone to court to seek information about the activities of a trust of which they are a beneficiary. The cases have helped shed light on what and how much a beneficiary is entitled to know about the inner workings of a trust from which they stand to benefit from.