Update on Employment Law Changes in 2024

By Joseph Diao

It is crucial for both employers and employees to stay on top of employment law changes. Several updates and amendments have been made to employment legislation in New Zealand recently.

A brief overview of recent changes to employment legislation in New Zealand is below:

Extension of 90-Day Trial Periods to All Employers

Effective from 23 December 2023, all employers can now utilise 90-day trial periods, providing an opportunity to assess new hires without the full obligations of permanent employment. This change offers employers greater flexibility in managing their workforce and evaluating candidate suitability.

Minimum Wage Increase

Starting from 1 April 2024, the adult minimum wage increased to $23.15 per hour. The training minimum wage also increased to $18.52 per hour. Employers will need to update their payroll systems and employment records to comply with the new rates.

Extended Timeframe for Sexual Harassment Dispute Resolution

Since 12 June 2023, the timeframe for raising sexual harassment claims has increased from 90 days to 12 months commencing from the date of the act in question. This change allows individuals more time to come forward and seek recourse in cases of harassment and provides employees an opportunity to take action without undue pressure or limitations.

However, all non-sexual harassment based personal grievances must still be raised within the previous 90-day period.

Worker Protection Act

The Worker Protection (Migrant and other Employees) Act 2023 came into effect on 6 January 2024 and aims to safeguard employees from exploitation in the workplace. The Act introduces requirements for employers to comply with Labour Inspector requests and prohibits individuals convicted of migrant exploitation from holding management positions and therefore aims to reduce continuing exploitation. An employer will have 10 working days to provide documents in response to a Labour Inspector request for documents. Failure by employers to comply with Labour Inspector requests may lead to an infringement notice being issued and fees of $1,000 per offence.

Fair Pay Agreements Repeal

The Fair Pay Agreements Act 2022 was repealed in December 2023. This impacts negotiations of terms and conditions for employees in specific industries or occupations. While Fair Pay Agreements no longer exist, employers must continue to uphold their responsibilities to their employees and engage in fair and transparent collective bargaining processes.

Staying informed about these changes and their implications is essential for employers to navigate the evolving legal landscape successfully. By proactively reviewing policies, procedures, and employment agreements, businesses can ensure compliance and foster fair and respectful workplaces for their employees. Employment law compliance is often tricky so if you require any assistance with employment law, please contact us at law@qcl.co.nz.

We have taken care to ensure that the information given is accurate, however it is intended for general guidance only and it should not be relied upon in individual cases. Professional advice should always be sought before any decision or action is taken.