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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 |

government paid parental leave

27th April 2018

Looks like I started having kids a year too early!  Government paid parental leave has been on the increase for the past few years, but is getting a major hike on 1st July when it goes from 18 to 22 weeks.

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Posted in legislation, parental leave |

training & development – who should pay?

21st April 2018

Most businesses know its good practice to provide financial support to employees who are undertaking further training – after all, the business themselves should be benefitting from the increased knowledge gained by the employee.

But what happens when the employee cuts & runs before the business feels they have benefitted from the knowledge the employee gained on the course?

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Posted in training & development |

proposed changes to 90 day trial period

18th April 2018

The Labour government has proposed changes to the 90 day trial period, by only allowing it to be used by companies that employ 19 or less people, but it hasn’t become law just yet.

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Posted in legislation, trial periods |

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