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Employment Law Changes – What’s Ahead for 2024

The Government has already implemented changes to Aotearoa’s employment law framework, with further changes forecast for 2024.  We set out a few of the most notable changes and what employers should be mindful of. 

90-day Trial Periods

The previous Government determined that 90-day trials could only be used for businesses of 19 employees or less.  As of 23 December 2023, 90-day trial periods can again be utilised by all employers in Aotearoa. 

In light of this change, we recommend that employers re-familiarise themselves with trial periods to ensure they are clear on their obligations.  90-day trial periods cannot be utilised in conjunction with probationary periods and can only apply to new employees.

Minimum Wage

From 1 April 2024, the adult minimum wage will be increasing from $22.70 to $23.15 per hour.  For a full-time employee on a 40-hr week, this equates to $48,152 per annum.  Living wage is currently at $26.00 per hour (as at September 2023).

The Starting Out/Training minimum wage will be increased from $18.16 to $18.52 per hour. 

Employers need to ensure that all employees are paid at least the minimum wage for every hour actually worked (regardless of any employment agreement).  Any payroll systems and employment records will also need to reflect the minimum wage changes.  

Worker Protection Act

On 6 January 2024, the Worker Protection (Migrant and other Employees) Act 2023 (WP Act) came into effect. The WP Act aims to protect employees from exploitation in Aotearoa.  A key provision of this Act is the ten day timeframe for employers to comply with any Labour Inspector requirement.  The main role of a Labour Inspector is to ensure workplaces are upholding employment law standards. 

The WP Act also disqualifies offenders convicted of migrant exploitation and/or trafficking from being able to manage or direct a company.  This provision helps limit the chance of reoffending in that capacity.

Fair Pay Agreements

In December 2023, the Fair Pay Agreements Act 2022 (FPA) was repealed.  The FPA meant that unions and employer associations could bargain for employment terms and conditions which would then apply to all covered employees in that particular industry or occupation.  In short, the removal of this will not affect all workplaces and/or employees but if you think it affects your area, you may wish to seek specific advice.  Collective bargaining remains available for unions and employers under the Employment Relations Act.

Get in touch

If you need help identifying what these changes mean for you or your business or want to talk through any employment related matters, our Workplace Law Team at McCaw Lewis is well-equipped to assist you and make things that bit easier.

Tazmyn is a Solicitor in our Workplace Law Team and can be contacted on 07 958 7467.

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