If New Zealand were to face another lockdown, it’s important for workers and employers to understand their rights and obligations when it comes to leave.

Employers should encourage workers to work from home, an alternative location or to carry other activities within reason where it is possible.

Where the above options are not available then an employer and their employee should agree in good faith what paid or unpaid leave needs to be taken by referring to their employment agreement.

An employer cannot make an employee take annual leave because of changes to the alert levels in the country or in their particular region. An employer can however make an employee take annual leave with 14 days notice if they cannot reach an agreement.

Likewise employers are not able to force employees to use any of their sick leave because alert level changes prevent them from coming into the workplace. Sick leave can only be requested by an employee.

For businesses that are struggling to find alternative duties for staff who cannot come into the workplace a Short-term Absence Payment scheme has been set up.

More details are available here:

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(CWC) is a new worker support initiative set up by Pamela Grealey and Benjamin Rudolph. The aim of this new initiative is to provide workplace advocacy for all workers across the Coromandel Peninsula, from Whangamata to north Colville. We recognised a need for worker representation on the Coromandel Peninsula as there is a significant number of low-waged, part-time/ flexible and people deemed contractors by their employers working in conditions that can for the most part be considered inequitable. These inequitable working conditions are not always deliberate and with this in mind we are also looking to work with small and large business owners to ensure that they are meeting all of their obligations as employers.

On the first Friday of each month the CWC holds a clinic to provide support and information sessions to workers with questions about their employment conditions and contract terms. These clinics have highlighted a sad truth, that not all workers are aware of their rights or pay entitlements. Our clinics are also joined by a worker advocate from One Union, who we are affiliated to. This enables us to offer workers across the peninsula a representative in their workplace without having to pay union fees or dues. No appointment is necessary if you would like to come and speak with us on one of our clinic days. If you wish to get in touch with us before our clinic, please send us a message through our Facebook page or the contact page of our website

With talk of a recession looming, we believe that there will be even more need to advocate for workers, many of whom have to work multiple part-time jobs just to survive. Many businesses will begin to face challenges that place even more uncertainty on those jobs where the worker will ultimately be left feeling desperate and fortunate just to have a job, that they will put themselves in a position where they are are willing to forgo a basic expectation of being treated fairly in the workplace. Employers, as I have already mentioned, do not always intend to create an unfair workplace. Sadly though this doesn’t always prevent it from happening. With this in mind we are also keen to reach out to employers to complete a high level overview of their workplace environment and practises to see what, if any, changes need to happen.

#CWC #equity #support #workers #advocacy

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The Coromandel Workers Council has been set up with the belief that everyone should have access to information about their rights as workers. With that in mind we want to help both employees and employers form strong and sustainable relationships that benefit everyone.

One of the questions that we seem to be getting a lot is “Am I a contractor or am I an employee?”. It’s important to note that there are some major differences between a contractor and an employee. Those differences, determined by the nature of the working relationship, affect the rights and obligations of the business and the worker.

There are a number of legal test developed by the courts which can help you determine if you are a contractor or an employee:


The intention test is relevant but does not determine the nature of the working relationship on its own.

Employees MUST have an employment agreement in writing

Contractors have a contract for services with a business

Employees MUST be paid holiday pay, where as a contractor does not

Employees are entitled to time and a half pay and a day in lieu for working a public holiday

Contractors are not unless otherwise agreed

Control versus Independence:

The greater the control exercised over a workers work content the more likely it is that they are an employee.

Employees have little to no control over the work to be done

Contractors have more discretion over how much time is spent at work

Employees usually work have set hours

Contractors generally have more control over their own availability and generally do not require supervision


Is the work being performed integral to the employer’s business? Usually work carried out by a contractor is only an accessory to the business. A person is likely to be considered an employee if the work is typically done by employees, is continuous ( i.e. not a one-off project) and is for the benefit of the business.

Employees will have all tools and equipment provided

Employees must be paid at least minimum wage. A contractor can be paid whatever rate is agreed to.

Employees have all of their tax and ACC obligations paid for by the employer

Employees are entitled to a minimum of 3% of their gross earnings paid into their Kiwisaver by their employer

Contractors may offer their services to multiple principals at the same time

Contractors carry financial risk and may give guarantees to cover breaches of their obligations

Contractors usually issue invoices setting out their fees or charges in order to get paid. Employees usually receive a payslip.

You may be asking “Why do I need to know the difference?”

Employers: If you hire someone as a contractor when they are actually an employee, you may later be held liable for extra costs including, unpaid PAYE tax, unpaid minimum wage, holidays, leave and Kiwisaver entitlements. You may also be at risk of receiving penalties from IRD and or the ERA.

Employees: If you are hired as a contractor incorrectly rather than as an employee, then you may miss out on your minimum employment rights and your Kiwisaver employer subsidy, plus you may end up paying tax and ACC levies that you didn’t have to.

If you need help determining your work status get in touch.

#worker #contractor #employee #workersrights

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Phone or text:

+ 64 27 296 5276

Drop in and see us on the first Friday of each month. For next our date and location please check the events page of our Facebook page. 


Workers Council

The Coromandel Workers Council was set up with the mission of supporting equity in the workplace. 

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