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Welcome to Sweden

Geographically Sweden is one of the biggest countries in Europe with almost 100,000 lakes and over 200,000 islands, although less than 1000 of these are inhabited. Bordering Norway and Finland and connected to Denmark via a series of bridges, it sits at the centre of Scandinavia. The countries capital Stockholm encompasses 14 islands and more than 50 bridges offering a a vibrant culture of music, theatre, dance and film, like the other larger Swedish cities. Stockholm is also the location of the New Zealand embassy for the Nordic Region. The Swedish and Scandinavian approach to life is very similar to

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Doubling down on R&D will help us to build back better

It can be a tough call to continue growth plans during such turbulent times. But some NZ businesses doubling down on R&D are reaping the rewards. As the struggle to contain the spread of COVID-19 around the world continues, one of the most significant global R&D efforts in history is gathering pace. The Americans call it “Operation Warp Speed”, the massive effort to develop and produce an effective COVID-19 vaccine in record time. Similar efforts are playing out everywhere. Our own government has pledged $37 million towards vaccine efforts, including developing the capacity to manufacture a vaccine locally. Based on

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First out of the Gate: Covid-19 wage subsidy blunder

The first decision of the Employment Relations Authority in respect of the COVID-19 wage subsidy has been released. As has been anticipated, many employers may soon be found liable for wage arrears where there has been a misapplication of the subsidies granted in the wake of COVID-19. In the decision of Sandhu v Gate Gourmet New Zealand Limited [2020] NZERA 259, one of the key issues considered was whether reducing non-working employees’ pay to 80 per cent, where they are on the minimum wage, breached the Minimum Wage Act 1983 (MWA). The employer, Gate Gourmet, is a global company providing

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Working remotely – will permanent change result from the pandemic?

In a bid to curb the coronavirus outbreak, New Zealand employers put in place precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19 including remote working – where employees were based partly or fully from home. If you had an existing Working from Home Policy this transition may have been smoother than scrambling to come up with resources and procedures to allow remote working to occur. Now that we are in Alert Level 1, many employers are investigating permanently implementing the flexible remote-work model that was so successful over lockdown. Location bias is a critical and as yet, poorly understood factor standing

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Contractor Courier Driver found to be an Employee – Contractor v Employee

Mr Leota was a driver for a courier company, Parcel Express Limited. He asked the Employment Court (“the Court”) for a declaration that he was an employee of the company. Parcel Express said that Mr Leota was an independent contractor, not an employee. This case involved a dispute about employment status. Namely, the distinction between a contractor and employee. Employee status is the gateway to access various statutory entitlements including holiday pay, minimum wages, KiwiSaver, parental leave and the personal grievance procedures. There are legal tests that allow the Employment Relations Authority (“the Authority”) and the Court to make decisions

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Tiwai Point – an avoidable disaster

Last week Rio Tinto announced that they will be closing the Tiwai Point Aluminium Smelter in August 2021. It will be interesting to see the Government’s response to this.  What is clear is that Rio Tinto has lost patience with Transpower charging  huge costs for transmission from Lake Manapouri to Tiwai Point  when these assets have been well and truly bought and paid for in the fifty years the smelter has been running. This leaves NZ Inc with some challenging problems. The closure will result in the direct loss of 1000 jobs, with another 1600 jobs indirectly connected to the

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