Time for Tea? – More flexibility & choice at work

April 20, 2015

in Employment

iStock_000016394154SmallThe Employment Relations Amendment Act 2014 came into effect on 6 March 2015.  The amendments to the Employment Relations Act 2000 affect small to medium businesses and aim to create and uphold a scheme that increases flexibility and choice, ensures an equity of fairness between employees and employers, reduces regulation where needed, decreases compliance costs and ensures that businesses that value employee rights can continue to grow.


The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has provided a detailed outline of the changes on its website.  In summary the key changes are as follows:

  • extending flexible working arrangements to all employees and providing for all employees to be able to request flexibility from their first day of work as opposed to the previous requirement of needing six months’ prior employment with the employer before making a request.
  • providing for greater flexibility in respect to rest and meal breaks, including the right to be reasonably compensated when rest and meal breaks cannot be taken.
  • providing for continuity of employment for specified employees, including setting timeframes for employees to elect to transfer to a new employer and requiring that the previous employer provides the new employer with detailed information on each transferring employee;
  • amendment of the duty of good faith provisions in respect to disclosure of information.  This aims to simplify what information employees have the right to during restructures or in cases where their employment is at risk. The changes allow employers to provide the affected employee with relevant confidential information about themselves.  However, an employer can withhold confidential information that includes another employee, other than the affected employee, if it involves unjustifiable disclosure of the affairs of that other employee.
  • amendment of the collective bargaining provisions removing the requirements of parties to reach a mutual agreement.  Parties can now request the Employment Authority to declare that negotiations have ended.  Written notice in advance is now required in respect to any proposed strikes and lockouts and deduction from pay or wages can be made in respect to employees involved in partial strikes.  The 30-day rule, which required new employees who were non-union members to be employed on the same terms and conditions contained in the collective agreement for their first 30 days on the job, has been removed.
  • changes to how and when the Employment Relations Authority make determinations.  At the conclusion of an investigation meeting the Authority will be required to give an oral determination or indication of its initial findings, where practicable.  Confirmation of oral determinations must be made in writing within one (1) month.

We are experienced in all aspects of employment law, advising both employers and employees.

If you require any advice or further information on the matters dealt with in this publication please contact the lawyer at Farry and Co. who normally advises you, or alternatively contact:

Erin Maher
09 379 0055 or 03 477 8870


The information contained in this publication is intended as a guide only.  It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.  Professional advice should be sought before applying any of the information to particular circumstances.  While every reasonable care has been taken in the preparation of this publication, Farry and Co. does not accept liability for any errors it may contain. 

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