Key Country Facts
Currency: New Zealand Dollar
Time zone: GMT +12
Capital city: Wellington
- English is spoken by 96.1% of the population and is used in parliament, government, courts and education system.
- Maori is used by the natives. Under Maori language Act 1987, it can be used for legal settings, but proceedings are recorded in English.
New Zealand has laws that help keep workplaces fair. New Zealand law applied equally to migrants and New Zealand citizens and residents.
All employees must have a signed, written employment agreement with their employer. Even if employee has accepted a verbal offer for a job, he/she must sign a written agreement before he/she starts work. Employees can enter a collective employment agreement (negotiated by registered unions representing employees who are members of the union), or an employment contract.
A collective employment agreement is a document between an employer and their employees regarding employment conditions. Many large companies offer collective employment agreements that have been negotiated by a union. Employers must not unduly influence employees to join or not join a union.
An individual employment contract is an agreement between an employer and employee that sets out terms and conditions of employment. Employment contracts cannot provide for less than the minimum legal entitlements set out in the various legislations governing employment in New Zealand (which includes the Employment Relations Act 2000, the Holiday Act 2003, the Wages Protection Act 1983, and the Minimum Wage Act 1983 among others).
New Zealand Holidays
There are 10 public holidays in New Zealand:
- New Year’s Day – January 1
- Day after New Year’s Day – January 2
- Waitangi Day – February 6
- Good Friday – April 2
- Easter Monday – April 5
- Anzac Day – April 25
- Queen’s Birthday – June 7
- Labour Day – October 25
- Christmas Day – December 25
- Boxing Day – December 26
The list above is New Zealand’s public holidays. Each region has different public holidays.
Employers who want to dismiss an employee must: 1) act in good faith; 2) have a good reason; 3) follow a fair and reasonable process; and 4) have an open mind when dealing with problems so they ensure outcomes are not pre-determined.
If the employer doesn’t follow above, the employee may be able to take a personal grievance claim against the employer. Reasons to dismiss an employee include: (i) serious misconduct; (ii) repeated misconduct; (iii) performance issues; (iv) during a trial period; (v) redundancy; (vi) incompatibility; and (vii) incapacity. There are general principles of fair process that employer must follow to justify (iii) and (i) and (ii).
To terminate an employee’s employment, employers must give a written notice of the last employment day or payment in lieu of notice. Serious misconduct warrants dismissal without notice. However, employers do have to pay all outstanding entitlements. Disputes by both employers and employees can be referred to the Employment Relations Authority (ERA).
Bonuses are not required. However, many employers will offer bonus as an incentive and for retention purpose. Bonus differ based on industry and seniority.
New Zealand Social Security
Social security is largely non-contributory in New Zealand, and officially neither employers not employees make contributions. Unemployment and sickness benefits are available to all New Zealanders and permanent residents irrespective of their employment history, although there may be other eligibility criteria and means testing. They must, however, make contributions to the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) scheme.
This information does not constitute legal advice.