Variations to Employment Agreements Nz

Variations to Employment Agreements in New Zealand – What You Need to Know

Employment agreements in New Zealand are legally binding contracts between employers and employees, outlining the terms and conditions of employment. However, circumstances may arise where the original agreement needs to be amended or updated. This article explores the variations to employment agreements in New Zealand and what you need to know as an employer or employee.

1. Negotiating Changes

When changes are required to an employment agreement, both parties need to negotiate and agree on the proposed changes. The terms of the agreement must be mutually acceptable, and the reasons for the variation should be clearly communicated. Some common reasons for seeking changes include:

– Changes to job duties or responsibilities

– Changes to work hours or location

– Changes to pay or benefits

– Changes to leave entitlements

– Changes to working conditions

2. Getting It in Writing

It is important to document any changes made to an employment agreement. This provides clarity and helps to avoid misunderstandings or disputes in the future. Any variation to the agreement should be recorded in writing, signed and dated by both parties. This way, there is a clear record of what was agreed upon, and both parties are bound by the new terms.

3. Legal Requirements

Employers need to be aware that there are legal requirements that must be met when varying an employment agreement. These requirements are set out in the Employment Relations Act 2000, and employers should seek legal advice if they are unsure of their obligations.

Under the Act, employers must provide employees with reasonable notice of any proposed changes. The notice period will depend on the nature of the changes and the employee`s agreement. For example, an employee with a fixed-term agreement may require more notice than an employee on an open-ended agreement.

Employees also have the right to seek advice and support from their union or an employment advocate when negotiating variations to their employment agreement.

4. Disputes and Resolution

If a dispute arises over a proposed variation to an employment agreement, both parties should seek to resolve the matter through mediation or other means of dispute resolution. Mediation is a voluntary and confidential process where an independent mediator facilitates discussions between the parties to try and reach a mutually acceptable solution.

If mediation fails, either party can make an application to the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) to resolve the matter. The ERA has the power to make rulings on disputes related to employment agreements.

In conclusion, variations to employment agreements in New Zealand require careful negotiation and documentation. Employers and employees should be aware of their legal obligations and seek advice when necessary to ensure that any changes to the agreement are made in good faith and are fair and reasonable for both parties. By following these best practices, both employers and employees can maintain a positive and productive working relationship.