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“Social networking is a really positive part of our company’s marketing. However, we hadn’t communicated the ground rules and didn’t know where to start. Wendy at Accord gave us the right paragraphs to add to our agreements and updated our Health & Safety clause in parallel.” – Vanessa Davey, CEO, Venus Group Ltd

Getting It Right From The Start

Employment agreements help set expectations for employees and business owners about what’s expected from each party at every stage of the employment relationship, from the commencement of employment through to well after the employment relationship ends. Employment law is evolving rapidly, with the biggest overhaul in many years occurring right now as a result of three super trends:

  1. Technology such as social networking has pushed workplace behaviour expectations into uncharted territory.
  2. Copyright has changed as ownership of work developed digitally operates in blurred boundaries with an employer’s business.
  3. Health & Safety legislation being reviewed, resulting in more onerous penalties for breaches of legislation for business owners, including hefty fines and even incarceration.

Owners of established businesses should be asking their HR manager to revisit their employment agreements. Whether the employment agreements are for a fixed term, as required (casual) employment or for employment for an undefined term, now’s the time to see if there are risks your business has unknowingly taken on as a result of these employment super trends.

Read our article Important Facts about Employment Agreements

Contact us today to ensure you have robust documents and systems in place avoiding the risk of disputes or personal grievances down the track.

Do You Need an Employee or Independent Contractor?

The engagement of independent contractors has also evolved requiring business owners to be more mindful of the way they manage contractors. Many business owners are surprised to discover that while the IRD may deem someone to be a contractor, the Employment Relations Authority and/or Employment Court may deem them an employee, with significant financial consequences for business owners. To get it right, the articles, The Next Big Step and The Bare Basics of Taking on Staff may be of help for you covering factors you need to consider including a checklist in determining differences between Independent Contractors and Employees.

Improving Your Systems & Policies

Health and Safety isn’t just for businesses that operate in hazardous environments like farms and mines. The responsibility to communicate your health and safety expectations to employees falls on you as a business owner. Your business should already have an employee handbook in place that outlines your policy and procedures. This doesn’t take long to complete and goes a long way to ensuring you are communicating Health & Safety expectations with your employees.