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Newsletter Articles 2018

22 August 2018

In recent months the Employment Court has decided several cases on what it means to be ‘working’. The court’s decisions may surprise many employers’ and challenge understandings of when employees are working and must be paid.

South Canterbury DHB v Sanderson [2017] NZEmpC 127

Six anaesthetic technicians (ATs) who work for the South Canterbury DHB at Timaru Hospital claimed that while on call they were legally ‘working’ and should be paid the minimum wage.

The ATs were frequently on call so that surgery could be carried out at any time. If an AT is required while on call they must attend the hospital within 10 minutes. Accordingly, while the ATs were on call they had to stay in accommodation at or adjacent to the hospital.  More ...


30 July 2018

We are right in the middle of winter and many workers are wary of catching a cold or flu and keep one eye on their sick leave balance. Some workplaces expect sick leave to be taken only when a worker is so unwell they physically cannot drag themselves to work. Often sick workers will slurp cough medicine and cover their desks in tissue origami, still feeling the pressure not to go home. These sorts of attitudes show sick leave is sometimes misunderstood. In reality sick leave may be lawfully used in ways that might seem bizarre.  More...


12 June 2018

Unprecedentedly high compensation awards have been made in the employment jurisdiction in recent months. Not only are greater amounts are being awarded, an entirely new approach of awarding compensation on the basis of low, mid-range, and high level loss or damage to the employee is being applied. While these changes look promising for potential employee claimants, it is certainly a worrying trend for employers.  More ...


17 April 2018

It is important for employees to have the opportunity for rest and recreation and it’s important to employers that they don’t have to pay for that rest twice! Employers have the responsibility to ensure that they are providing the correct annual leave entitlements to their employees.

The general rule in the Holidays Act is that an employee is entitled to at least four weeks’ annual leave after 12 months continuous employment. However, an alternative ‘pay-as-you-go’ arrangement is allowed, but only where the employee is employed for a fixed term of less than 12 months or they work such intermittent or irregular hours that it is impracticable for the employer to provide them four weeks’ annual leave. More ...


9 March 2018

Labour’s election campaign featured numerous promises to tilt employment standards back in favour of employees. The Labour government introduced has now a Bill to amend the Employment Relations Act and make good on those promises.

Labour’s changes to employment law are intended to introduce greater fairness in the workplace between employees and employers, in order to promote productive employment relationships. The Bill is now before the Select Committee. Time is still available for members of the public to make submissions before the 30 March 2018 deadline.  More ...


Cullen - The Employment Law Firm was one of the first eleven law firms in New Zealand approved to provide employment law services to Government and the public sector.

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