November 23, 2007

Flexible working hours – New Employment Law

The Green’s new Bill establishing a statutory right for employees caring for dependants to ask for flexible working hours to accommodate their domestic circumstances is an interesting development in NZ Employment Law.

The proposed bill will not require employers to agree to flexible working arrangements, but it will require the employer to give consideration as to whether the employee’s needs can be accommodated.

Many employees (even those without dependants) would like more flexibility in their hours and arrangements, and many employers have found that such flexibility improves productivity, staff recruitment and retention, and morale.

“research shows that when employees have more control over their working hours they are likely to be more motivated and productive, and that there will be less absenteeism, staff turnover, and stress related illness”

Some employers are concerned about compliance costs, and unless they have well structured, fully developed, and well publicised policies and procedures for making and dealing with employees requests under the legislation, compliance costs could be significant.

I believe that good processes integrated into the organisation’s HR system will reduce compliance costs. They are also likely to pay big dividends in ensuring that all the employers business processes are regularly examined and evaluated.

November 13, 2007

Contractor or employee?

Brian’s worker – contractor or employee?

Brian had owned and run a business for nearly twenty years. Recently, he had employed a manager and semi retired to do some fishing.

Brian’s company had contracts to maintain air conditioning units in hundreds of commercial buildings. All the actual work was done by sixteen contractors and only the manager and some office staff were salaried employees. Brian had been employing contractors since he started the business, and had never had a problem with them. He kept a tight rein on them, providing training, tools and materials, and close supervision. If a contractor failed to perform, he was simply offered no more work. That was quite safe if the workers were really contractors, but very risky if they were really employees. (more…)

November 7, 2007

“They cut my hours and I lost it”


Barbara had worked for a cleaning company for more than a year. She had fallen out with Jack who had been her usual co worker on small jobs. He had complained to the boss about her and she had complained to the boss about him. The boss had told them both to “grow up”. The boss had spoken to Barbara a few times about the standard of her work. There had been no formal warnings or disciplinary procedures. The boss now usually rostered Jack into a different team from Barbara.

Bullied by dragons – boss indifferent


Alan had been employed as the Office Manager by WOEFUL Real Estate. He had done that job very well, the sales of the agency had grown, and after about five months his boss employed the daughter of one of the other sales people as an Office Assistant and asked Alan to gradually ease his way into selling. Alan’s Employment Agreement with WOEFUL was not changed to reflect his new duties. He continued to draw his Office Manager’s salary, but the new Office Assistant did most of the work he used to do. Alan spent more and more of his time chasing new listings and showing prospects the properties on the agency’s books. (more…)

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