Workers on meal break

Changes To Employment Relations Amended Act 2019 – May 2019

The New Zealand Government recently introduced a number of changes to the Employment Relations Act that will come into effect on the 6th of May 2019.  

If you are managing casual and temporary staff, the key changes you may need to be aware of are the changes to rest breaks and meal breaks, as well as changes to the trial and probationary periods.

Changes to rest and meal breaks

Before the Employment Relations Amendment Act, 2018 was passed, there were no specific rules for when or how long rest and meal breaks should be.  

Changes coming into effect on the 6th of May 2019, set precise break lengths depending on the hours that an employee has worked, including:  

  • A staff member works for more than 2 hours, but not more than 4 hours, the employee is entitled to one 10-minute paid rest break.
  • A staff member works more than 4 hours but not more than 6 hours–the employee is entitled to one 10-minute paid rest break and one 30-minute meal break.
  • A staff member works more than 6 hours but not more than 8 hours, the employee is entitled to two 10-minute paid rest breaks and one 30-minute meal break.
  • A staff member works more than 8 hours, the employee is entitled to the rest breaks and meal breaks in accordance with subsections (A) and (B) below:
    • A) During the work period of 8 hours, the employee is entitled to:
      • two 10-minute paid rest breaks; and
      • one 30-minute meal break.
    • B) During the work period beyond 8 hours (the “subsequent period”), the employee is entitled to the following:
      • if the subsequent period is 2 hours or more but not more than 4 hours, to one 10-minute paid rest break;
      • if the subsequent period is more than 4 hours but not more than 6 hours, to:
        • one 10-minute paid rest break; and
        • one 30-minute meal break;
      •  if the subsequent period is more than 6 hours but not more than 8 hours, to:
        • two 10-minute paid rest breaks; and
        • one 30-minute meal break.  

For more information on set rest and meal breaks, please refer to Employment New Zealand.

How to manage rest and meal breaks if you are hiring staff on Sidekicker

We recommend that the shift manager effectively plans rest and meal breaks in line with legislative changes and discusses this with staff–both internal and Sidekicks, at the beginning of each shift.

Phasing out Trial Period Provisions

Some of Sidekicker’s clients who have hired staff for on-going roles under an employment contract may have included Trial Provision Periods (“TPP”).  

Changes to the Employment Relations Act, 2019 will phase out TPPS from the 6th May 2019.

Any employment contracts entered into before the 5th May 2019 containing a TPP will be upheld until the end of the agreement as if the legislative changes to trial periods had not been made.

However, from the 6th May 2019 onwards,  TPP’s will no longer be included in employment agreements. In its place, a probationary period provision (“PPP”) should be included in employment agreements instead.  

What is a Probationary Period Provision?

A probationary period provision (“PPP”) is akin to a first written warning for poor performance/conduct concerns.  

Therefore, where an employee is subject to a PPP, a business can start with a final written warning as the potential outcome (rather than a first written warning).  

After a final written warning is issued, the process of termination would then follow on from there.  

If you have any questions about legislative changes, please contact Employment New Zealand or discuss the changes with your employment lawyer.

Any questions regarding existing contracts with Sidekicker, please reach out to your account manager or contact support@sidekicker.co.nz.

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