Your minimum rights
Employers bear the responsibility of upholding the minimum rights of employees, safeguarding their well-being in the workplace. It is mandatory for all employees, regardless of their employment type, to receive a written copy of their individual or collective employment agreement. These agreements must include terms and conditions that meet or exceed the minimum rights prescribed by the law. It is crucial to note that the minimum rights outlined in legislation apply to every employee, irrespective of whether they are explicitly stated in the employment agreement or compromised within it. Even in the absence of an employment agreement, the law ensures the protection of employees by establishing:
Minimum rights that employees are entitled to
Workplace safety regulations to prevent discrimination, bullying, or harassment
Requirements for both the employer and employee to act in good faith.
Please note that the following minimum rights apply to workers classified as employees. Contractors aren't covered by most employment-related laws. This means they don't get things like annual leave or sick leave and they can't bring personal grievances
Four weeks annual leave
In New Zealand, employees are entitled to a minimum of four weeks' paid annual holiday per year. This important provision ensures that workers have the opportunity to rest and rejuvenate, promoting a healthy work-life balance.
12 Public holidays
You have the right to enjoy a total of 12 public holidays per year. These designated days off provide valuable time for rest and leisure activities. If an employee chooses to work on a public holiday, they are entitled to receive time-and-a-half pay for their work and may also be eligible for a day's leave to be taken at a later time.
You are entitled to 10 days of paid sick leave per year, starting from the completion of their first 6 months of employment. This provision ensures that employees can prioritise their health and well-being when needed. An additional benefit is that unused sick leave days, up to a maximum of 10, can be carried over to the following year, allowing employees to accumulate a total of up to 20 days of sick leave. This enables individuals to maintain their physical and mental well-being without the worry of losing their entitlement to paid time off when facing illness or medical appointments.
Employers must pay their employees at least the relevant minimum wage, and it is important for them to regularly check and stay informed about the current minimum wage rates to ensure compliance with employment regulations.
You have the right to take a total of 52 weeks of parental leave, which includes 26 weeks of primary carer leave and an additional 26 weeks of extended leave. During this time, you are entitled to receive parental leave payments for up to 26 weeks to support you financially while you focus on caring for your child and are not working.
Employees are entitled to a minimum of three days of bereavement leave in specific circumstances, such as the death of an immediate family member, a miscarriage or stillbirth experienced by the employee or their partner, or if the employee had agreed to be the primary carer of a child resulting from a pregnancy. Additionally, employees receive a minimum of one day of bereavement leave if another person passes away and their employer acknowledges their bereavement. The duration of bereavement leave is influenced by factors such as the closeness to the deceased person, the level of responsibility for funeral arrangements, and cultural responsibilities associated with the death.
Rest and meal breaks
Employers are obligated to provide paid rest breaks but are not required to pay for meal breaks. Rest breaks must be a minimum of 10 minutes, while meal breaks should be at least 30 minutes. The duration and timing of breaks depend on the employee's work period, which includes the time from when they start work until they finish, including authorized breaks, whether paid or unpaid. These legal requirements ensure that employees have the necessary time for rest and nourishment during their workday.
Typically, the hours specified in a work contract are the only ones an employee is required to be present for. In situations where an employer requests an employee to work beyond their regular hours, many employees are compensated accordingly. This arrangement must be mutually agreed upon by both parties and documented in the employment agreement. For instance, overtime can be integrated into the employee's salary, or it can be remunerated at their regular pay rate. The latter must be equal to or higher than the minimum wage rate.
Payment of wages/salary
It is important to note that your wages must be provided in monetary form, rather than any other mode of payment. Your employer is obligated to pay you on the agreed-upon payday, which includes both the specific day of the week and pay period (such as weekly or fortnightly) that you mutually agreed upon at the beginning of your employment. Your employer cannot alter your regular payday without your consent.
Employees have the right to receive their regular pay while serving on jury duty, ensuring that their income remains uninterrupted during this period.
If you experience the impact of family violence and are currently employed, you have certain rights, including: the entitlement to utilise 10 days of paid family violence leave annually, and the option to request a temporary flexible working arrangement for a period of up to 2 months. This arrangement may involve modifications to your duties, work location, or daily work schedule.
In the workplace, everyone is safeguarded against unfair discrimination. This protection extends to various aspects, such as age, race or colour, ethnicity or national origins, sex (including pregnancy or childbirth), sexual orientation, disability, religious or ethical belief, marital or family status, employment status, political opinion, being affected by family violence, and involvement in union activities, including claiming or assisting others in claiming employment agreement benefits, or taking or intending to take employment relations education leave. These measures ensure that individuals are treated fairly and equally, fostering an inclusive and respectful work environment for all.