Breaking News: Timeframe to raise a personal grievance for sexual harassment set to increase to 12 months

The timeframe to raise a personal grievance for sexual harassment is about to increase from 90 days to 12 months.

This change will come about as a result of the Employment Relations (Extended Time for Personal Grievance for Sexual Harassment) Amendment Bill, which passed its third reading on Wednesday, 7 June 2023.  This means that the Bill has now passed all of the hurdles in the parliamentary process and awaits Royal Assent, which is expected to be given any day now.

This is quite a significant change from the status quo, with the timeframe to raise a personal grievance previously being limited to 90 days, irrespective of the basis for the personal grievance.

The rationale is to allow victims of sexual harassment more time to consider whether they want to bring a personal grievance, thereby improving the process for victims.

What do employers need to do?

Once the Bill is given Royal Assent, it will have practical implications for employers.

New employment agreements will need to specifically reference the 12 months within which an employee can raise a personal grievance for sexual harassment.  This is in addition to the requirement to specify 90 days for other types of personal grievances.  Here, new employment agreements are those that are entered into on or after the date of commencement, which will be the day after the Bill receives Royal Assent.

It is important to note that this requirement will apply irrespective of when bargaining or negotiations in respect of an employment agreement started, even where talks began before the commencement date.

Employers could face a monetary penalty for failure to include reference to the 12-month period and the 90-day period in new employment agreements. 

What about current employment agreements?

Employers do not need to update current employment agreements.  A recent Supplementary Order Paper removed any requirement to amend current employment agreements.  However, employers might want to review their relevant workplace policies, to ensure that those policies are up to date.

If you have any questions about the new 12-month timeframe to raise a personal grievance for sexual harassment or have any questions about reviewing workplace policies, please get in touch with our Employment Law Team or your usual contact at Hesketh Henry.

Disclaimer:  The information contained in this article is current at the date of publishing and is of a general nature.  It should be used as a guide only and not as a substitute for obtaining legal advice.  Specific legal advice should be sought where required.

Do you need expert legal advice?
Contact the expert team at Hesketh Henry.
Media contact - Kerry Browne
Please contact Kerry with any media enquiries and with any questions related to marketing or sponsorships on +64 9 375 8747 or via email.

Related Articles / Insights & Opinion

Complexities of contract termination – High Court calls halt on the Contractor’s process in Rau Paenga v CPB
The High Court in Rau Paenga Ltd v CPB Contractors Pty Ltd [2023] NZHC 2947 granted an interim injunction preventing the Contractor from suspending and terminating its contract for the construction of...
30.05.2024 Posted in Construction & Disputes
iStock  Employment Concept
Court of Appeal overturns Employment Court decision stripping family carers of their employment status
Two parents of disabled adult children have lost their status as employees of the Ministry of Health (MOH). The Employment Court had previously found that they were “homeworkers” and therefore emp...
29.05.2024 Posted in Employment
vadim kaipov  kIqhmxc unsplash med
Is working from home still working?
There are conflicting views on whether working from home is effective. Research conducted by Massey University at the end of 2023 found that around 40% of workers were doing hybrid work. This was an i...
23.05.2024 Posted in Employment
The Legal500 Construction Comparative Guide
The Construction team at Hesketh Henry is the exclusive New Zealand contributor to The Legal 500: Country Comparative Guide for Construction.  Partners Glen Holm-Hansen and Helen Macfarlane along wit...
21.05.2024 Posted in Construction
Government trumps Member’s Bill with the Contracts of Insurance Bill 2024
It now seems there is at least the possibility 2024 will be the year New Zealand finally sees the reform of insurance law with the Government’s own bill, the Contracts of Insurance Bill, now before ...
16.05.2024 Posted in Insurance
Computer Hand Wide
Privacy Commissioner releases draft biometrics privacy code
Biometrics is a trending issue and with the development of technology there are consistently more ways biometric data can be used, from replacing a password to identifying repeat shoplifters in a shop...
03.05.2024 Posted in Business Advice
Building Permit
Build-to-Rent (BTR) Basics
If the term Build-to-Rent is new to you, you are probably not alone.  Unlike countries such as the USA, UK and Australia where BTR is well established, the BTR sector is still emerging in New Zealand...
26.04.2024 Posted in Property
Send us an enquiry

For expert legal advice, please complete the form below or call us on (09) 375 8700.