Many disputes arise because people do not know their rights and obligations.

All employees are entitled to:

(i)            Written employment agreements.

(ii)           Time to get advice on the agreement before they sign.

(iii)          An agreement that sets out:

  •     Who your employer is
  •     What your role is
  •     Where you will work
  •     When you will work or how that is decided eg a roster
  •     What you will be paid
  •     What will happen if you work on a public holiday
  •     What will happen in a redundancy situation
  •     How to resolve disputes.

(iv)         Four weeks paid annual leave per year after you have been employed 12 months.

(v)          Ten days sick leave per year after six months.

(vi)         Three days bereavement leave after six months (for immediate family).

(vii)        10 Days Domestic Violence leave.

(viii)       The minimum wage (or training wage).

(ix)         12 public holiday days per year and time and a half if you work on a public holiday (if a normal working                       day for you).  You also get another day off.

(x)          Two 10 minutes paid rest breaks each eight hour shift (more or less for other hours).

(xi)         An unpaid meal break of at least half an hour for an eight hour shift.

(xii)        Government paid parental leave up to 12 months (if you qualify).

(xiii)       Request flexible working arrangements.  Can be refused on some reasons.

(xiv)       Be paid in cash (unless you agree).

Employees must:

(i)            Perform the work with care and skill.

(ii)           Be open and communicative with the employer.

(iii)          Comply with the terms of the employment agreement.

(iv)         Comply with lawful and reasonable instructions from the employer (including policies and procedures).

(v)          Keep the employer’s information and business confidential.

(vi)         Not do anything to undermine the employer’s business.

If you are having problems with an employer or employee who is not keeping their side of the agreement (and laws) you can enforce those rights.

Try talking to your employer or employee first to resolve matters at a low level.

If you are not successful then advice from an employment professional can tell you your options for moving forward and sorting the issue.


Alan Knowsley

Employment Lawyer Wellington