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What does the Employment Relations Act do?

Updated: Sep 26, 2023

#yourquestionsanswered There are the minimum employment rights that you are entitled to. These are outlined in the Employment Relations Act, which also lays out how disputes can be handled.

Employee experiencing workplace stress
What is the Employment Relations Act?:

The Employment Relations Act 2000 is one of the most important acts in the employment law space. It protects your rights including by:

  • legislating your minimum rights (like holidays and sick leave)

  • guiding how employers and employees should act and their good faith obligations

  • setting rules about what is lawful in 90 day trial periods, dismissals, redundancies etc

  • outlining how employment disputes are resolved

  • providing statutory remedies for employment disputes

  • detailing what information your employer must keep and provide to you

Basically, it puts into law very the bare minimum that all employees are entitled to in their employment. These principles not only underpin all lawful employment relationships in New Zealand, but serve to support other important legislation that supports your employment rights, like the Minimum Wage Act 1983, Holidays Act 2002 and Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.


And importantly...

The Employment Relations Act also protects you against losing your rights by not having an employment agreement or having one that gives you less than the minimum. No matter what your employment agreement says or doesn't say, the minimums of the Act always apply. This is even if you have agreed to less in your contract.


Who decides what needs to be legislated?

All legislation is ultimately maintained, updated or removed by the government at the time. When it comes to amendments, often these are made as a reflection of changes in employment situations across society (for instance the pandemic) or from case law that identifies an area that needs to be changed in law to better support New Zealanders. Any changes go through many steps before they become law, and its a long process.


For further information...

Contact us! We can provide you with more in depth employment law advice and the support you need to sure you are being treated fairly.


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