Persia Templeton

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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Bev Edwards

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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Kent Duffy

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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Last Month In Employment

Opportunity Post COVID-19 to look at skills required in Manufacturing

Manufacturing has been identified as a key sector for our economic recovery post COVID-19, but many manufacturers cannot find the skilled staff they need to help them increase production and help the nation recover. This issue is not new and existed pre-COVID-19. The lack of suitable numbers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) among students coupled with an ageing workforce as baby boomers start to retire is compounded by the antiquated perceptions by students, parents and teachers that manufacturing is dirty, dangerous and does not involve a great deal of thinking. Manufacturers are addressing those perceptions by engaging with

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Working from home costs during COVID-19

Many New Zealand businesses operated during the various Alert Levels of the COVD-19 pandemic by instructing staff to work from home. Now we are at Alert Level 1 and things could return to the ‘new normal’, some employers are encouraging staff to continue working from home. Now that working from home is optional rather than mandatory, many employees are becoming more conscious of the costs associated with it. These include increased electricity and other utilities, internet and phone usage plans, and the costs associated with the setting up a home office. Naturally, the question arises as to whether an employer

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