Meeting Your Obligations as an Employer

John Shingleton

Director of Onlinelawyers
www.onlinelawyer.nz

Recently, our clients have been asking us to make sure they are compliant with minimum employment and immigration law standards.

With potential fines up to $100,000 and terms of imprisonment up to seven years, it is important to ensure that your business complies with minimum standards.

While you may assume that your Limited Liability Company protects you from claims, there are a number of situations where the Ministry can fine directors (or company officers) personally for breaches of the legislation.

Despite this, most of our clients still seem unsure of whether they comply with minimum standards and, if they’re not compliant, how they can comply.

Given the increased focus on this by the Ministry, it is important that you seek advice tailored to your business to ensure that you discharge your obligations.

However, we have made some general suggestions below:

  1. Ensure that you keep adequate records. The legislation requires records of the hours your staff work, their holidays, their sick leave and their employment agreements. However, you should also keep an ‘employment file’ which includes copies of requests for leave variations to their employment agreement, medical certificates, and copies of ‘proof of eligibility to work’ such as passport or visa.
  2. Ensure that important dates, such as visa expiry and holiday/leave dates, are accurately recorded and updated as circumstances change.
  3. Audit your payroll system to ensure that payments for holidays and public holidays are based on the mathematical formulas in the Holidays Act.
  4. Review the hours your salaried staff are working to ensure that, once their gross salary is divided by the hours worked, they are being paid at least the minimum wage for each hour worked.
  5. Review the rest and meal breaks that your staff are taking to ensure that the breaks are ‘reasonable’ and provide your staff with an opportunity to relax during their shift. Alternatively, ensure that adequate compensation is given to staff who do not take breaks.
  6. Ensure staff that are on work visas are being paid their minimum entitlements and that their role remains the same as when they applied for their visa.
  7. Review your employment agreements and ensure that they are up-to-date and compliant. Particularly, examine your deduction from wages clauses and whether they are reasonable and compliant.
  8. Get expert advice to ensure that you meet the requirements.

Finally, if you are investigated you should seek immediate expert legal advice to mitigate any risks.

Author: magazinestoday

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