The Employment Relations Authority has started to determine COVID-19 related cases with the first three matters going in the employees' favour. The key messages from the cases to date has been the need for standard employment processes to be applied with no changes being made unilaterally by either party – in short, the law is the law.
The Law Is The Law
In plain language, the above means that the terms of the employment agreements and good faith apply, and fair processes must be used. If you need help with reviewing agreements or resolving employment issues, please get in touch with us on email@example.com
New Employment Legislation
There are three new areas of legislation relevant to employment that you need to be aware of and incorporate into practices as appropriate. These are:
The new Employment Relations (Triangular Employment) Amendment Act 2019 came into effect 30 June 2020. This means that an employer can be joined to a personal grievance of a third-party employer, such as a temp or labour hire agency, where that employer is a party to the concerns being raised by an employee.
Where you are using agencies for supply of labour our recommendation would be to check what the arrangements and process would be in the event a personal grievance was raised and the third-party employer was a named party to that personal grievance.
From 1 July 2020 paid parental leave was increased to 26 weeks for eligible parents. Extended leave of up to a further 26 weeks can continue to be applied for where eligibility is met.
The Privacy Act 2020 will come into force on 1 December 2020. This new Act includes a mandatory requirement for formal notification of any privacy breach that could result in serious harm. All privacy policies including website statements should be reviewed and updated for this new Act prior to 1 December 2020.
Also on the horizon are the following Bills to be aware of:
Bereavement Leave for Miscarriage
The Bill to introduce bereavement leave of up to three days into the Holidays Act was sent to a select committee this week. If there are no changes to what has been proposed in this Bill, it will progress to a second reading.
Equal Pay Amendment Bill
This has now passed its third reading and is awaiting royal assent to become law. Once law, it will provide the process for raising and progressing pay equity claims.
A Bill has been introduced to Parliament to replace the Protected Disclosures Act. This Bill is to clarify what is deemed to be serious wrongdoing, how to report it, and to strengthen the protections for whistle-blowers. The Bill has passed its first reading and is now with a select committee, which is due to report back in January 2021
If you have any questions at all about the above or any matter related to employment law, please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org