New employment standards under health and safety act

Posted: 9 February 2017

You may have seen a lot of media coverage lately around the new Health and Safety act that came into force April 1st, with media headlines such as "School bans tree-climbing as new safety act looms" and "Law casts doubt on playground fun". However you may not be aware of the Employment Standards Legislation Bill that also came into force, and has introduced a number of changes that affect both employees and employers alike. 

Some of the major changes are regarding employment standards, and unfair employment practices, particularly

  • Minimum employment standards 
  • Unfair employment practices- this includes 'zero hour contracts' being prohibited
  • Employers can no longer expect employees to be available over and above their agreed hours, without reasonable compensation 
  • Employers can no longer cancel an employee's shift, without providing reasonable notice or compensation 
  • Employers cannot make unreasonable deductions from an employee's wages, for losses caused by a third party

These are just a few of the major changes, however on the whole the changes that come into effect under this new legislation are wide-ranging, and if not implemented correctly, could have serious consequences for an employer. 

We encourage all employers to seek legal advice, as these changes are vast and your current standard employment agreement may now be out of date. There are serious ramifications for an employer if they are found to be breaching these standards, and therefore seeking legal advice can help you ensure clarity and some peace of mind. We expect that at the minimum, your exisiting employment agreements will need to now clearly outline an employee's regular working hours, to outline any provision and compensation for work undertaken outside of these regular hours, to outline expectations and guidelines in regards to any secondary work undertaken by the employee, and  to clarify on what grounds you can make deductions from an employees' wages. 

For any questions or queries, please give us a call on (03) 3774421. We would love to be of assistance. 

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