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probationary periods

24th April 2019

volunteer vs employeeWith the changes to the 90 day trial period coming into effect on 6th May, conversations have resurfaced about the effectiveness of using probationary periods as an alternative.

Certainly, there is merit in using them but it should be done with caution.

The intent of a probationary period is to assess an employee’s skill set for a particular position – this means that (unlike the 90 day trial period), it can be used for an ex-employee coming back into the organisation or for a current employee moving into a new role.

However, there are some things to keep in mind regarding a probationary period:

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Posted in employment agreements, legislation, trial periods |

proof of sickness

24th March 2019

Amongst HR professionals, there is often discussion about how easily employees can get medical certificates when they are requested (usually after 3 days of absence).

However, if you have an employee who is delaying producing the medical certificate when requested (or totally unable to provide one), you have two courses of action to take.

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Posted in legislation, sick leave |

domestic violence leave

22nd March 2019

On 1st April the new Domestic Violence –  Victim’s Protection Bill comes into effect.  This piece of legislation entitles employees affected by domestic violence to up to 10 days of paid domestic violence leave per year, in order to deal with the effects of domestic violence.

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Posted in legislation |

using personal email for work biz

30th November 2018

Ivanka Trump hit the headlines last week for using her personal email for White House business.

There was a fear she’d been sending classified information over a private system and by doing so, potentially cause a threat to the US security system.

But it’s not actually illegal.  In the US, personal accounts are able to be used for government business, providing any official correspondence is forwarded to a work account within 20 days for preservation. The relevant Acts state that this step is to ensure official records are not beyond the reach of journalists, lawmakers and others who seek publicly available information.

This is an important practice for all of us in business too.

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Posted in email use |

managing workplace stress

30th September 2018

Workplace stress is a tricky thing to manage, and unfortunately it seems to be on the rise for many businesses.workplace stress

There is no legal entitlement for stress leave from work and NZ employment law doesn’t provide an exact definition of stress leave, so it is a bit of a grey area which compounds the challenge of dealing with it.

The lack of legislation means that if an employee feels they need time-off to recover from work-related stress, the leave options are largely up for negotiation between employer and employee, unless the stress is causing illness, in which case sick leave could be taken.

We really need to look at the Health & Safety At Work Act 2015 for guidance on dealing with workplace stress, as this piece of legislation classifies it as a hazard, and therefore provides the framework to guide us.  This means employers have an obligation to monitor, identify and manage workplace stress just as with other hazards.

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Posted in legislation, workplace stress |

how to enforce an employee dress code

22nd August 2018

A British Airways worker made the news last week after his employment was terminated because he had a ‘man bun’.  He argued it was discrimination because females were allowed to wear their hair in that style, and yet because he was a male, he wasn’t.

While the jury is still out on who will win this one, it does raise a good point about company dress codes, and the right way to enforce them.

A company is absolutely entitled to have a dress code to reflect the type and status of the business, but it must be reasonable in the context of the company’s business – you can’t really prevent someone having a specific hair style for no justifiable reason.

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Posted in dress code |

volunteer vs employee

18th June 2018

What makes someone an employee?  One of our clients recently approached us for some advice on whether a family friend who’d offered to help on the farm should be treated as an employee, or whether they were in fact just a volunteer.
It can be pretty easy to blur the lines between volunteer and employee, particularly when personal relationships are involved.  This can be a fairly contentious topic, particularly if there is a difference of opinion about which status should apply.

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Posted in legislation |

90 day trial periods

10th June 2018

Some recent ERA decisions have shown that the 90 day trial period does not mean you can throw caution to the wind and disregard all due process.  Some unjustified dismissal claims are still upheld, so its worth remembering these points:

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Posted in legislation, trial periods |

how to…. change your business operations in response to commercial pressures

27th May 2018

No great business is static.  Great businesses have to continuously evolve in response to the changing external market, competitor landscape, and internal pressures, and sometimes that means what worked before doesn’t work anymore.

Sometimes the only response to these commercial pressures, is to consider changing employee’s employment conditions.

So if this is the boat you’re in, how do you do it?

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Posted in legislation |

controlling sick leave

5th May 2018

The cold snap has arrived, and unfortunately, with winter, comes sickness and many businesses are faced with escalating employee  absenteeism and requests for sick leave.   But there are tools and techniques you can use to help quantify, monitor and manage the problem of sick leave and other unplanned absences.

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Posted in legislation, sick leave |

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