Employment Law 101

On Tuesday, the 16th of May, the Nelson Tasman Business Trust hosted a presentation given by Kay Chapman, of Chapman Employment Relations. Her company is a local organisation that provides consultation to employers on how to comply with employment law.

Although Chapman ER consults on many aspects of employment relations, the primary topic of discussion was the proper way to draft an employment agreement. This is an important consideration as it serves as the legal foundation for the employer-employee relationship. As the agreement is a document signed between parties and something of value is given by each in an exchange, it serves as a legally binding contract with all of the associated rights and responsibilities. Employment agreements of this type are required for every form of employment within New Zealand and much of the remainder of the discussion demonstrated the need for employers to draft their agreements correctly in order to avoid negative legal ramifications.

Mandatory clauses for these agreements include: The title of the position, the duties expected of the employee, the place of work, the expected working hours, pay, leave and holidays, the rights of the employee during mergers or sales, and, importantly, methods of conflict resolution between the employer and the employee.

Other clauses that Kay recommended for inclusion, depending on the individual situation, included trial periods, obligations of the employee and employer, termination procedures, and confidentiality. While these clauses may not be required by law for the contracts, it was highly recommended that they are considered so that both the business owners and the employees are protected.

Throughout the presentation, Kay also stressed the importance of wording during interactions with employees and potential employees. At the end of the presentation, a short question and answer session was held.