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Employment Contracts

Understand what should be included in an job contract or agreement…

In New Zealand everyone in paid employment must have a written employment agreement. The agreement can either be individual or collective. Collective agreements are negotiated between an employer and a registered union, who do so on behalf of all their members. Employers are not allowed to influence an individual's choice to join a union. From 1 July 2011 employers are required to keep a signed copy of the employment agreement. Employees can request a copy.

An employment agreement must include the following information:

  • Names of the employee and employer
  • The position the individual is being employed to fill
  • A job description or definition of duties
  • The place and hours of work
  • The type of pay and holiday conditions
  • Information on redundancy and settling disputes

Employment in New Zealand can be on a fixed-term, casual, part-time or full-time basis. The terms of fixed-term employment must be clearly written in the employment agreement. The job may end on a certain date or at the end of a defined project. People employed in this way have the same rights as other employees with the exception that their job has a defined end date.

Casual and part-time employees also have the same employment rights as full-time employees. However, the manner in which sick and bereavement entitlements and annual holiday are applied can vary.

Everyone over the age of 16 must be paid at least the adult minimum wage unless they are new entrants or trainees. The minimum wage applies to all workers whether they are full-time, part-time, fixed-term or casual employees.

Standard working hours are not defined in New Zealand, though a five day working week of around 37 hours is normal. The Minimum Wage Act sets out a maximum working week of 40 hours over five days. Employers and employees are free to set the length of their working week. A healthy balance between work and the rest of life is considered very important in New Zealand. Flexible working allows people to work from home, part-time or to take paid parental leave.

  • For comprehensive information on employment rights from the New Zealand government Department of Labour: Click here

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