From April 1st, there are a heap of updates to employment laws in NZ. These changes will require action from every Kiwi employer, so don't muck around!
1. Minimum wage
The minimum wage is on the rise, and will hit $17.70 in April (remember, Labour want $20 by 2021). This affects not only employees on minimum rates, but also salaried staff who may slip below a minimum hourly rate when working really long days (hello, dairy industry). If you're not with a payroll provider, you'll need to prepare!
PaySauce customers can see how to bulk update minimum wage employees here.
KiwiSaver is getting a bit of a refresh through April, July and beyond. But with a handful of other changes happening in April, you'll probably be updating your forms and processes anyway, so it's worth planning for at the same time. For the first time, over 65s will be allowed to enrol in KiwiSaver. Further down the track, new employee contribution rates will be added, with 6% and 10% options joining the current rates (3%, 4% or 8%).
3. Domestic Violence Leave
From April 1st, NZ is bringing in 10 days of leave per year for those affected by domestic violence. The time off is to deal with the effects of violence, which could cover things like court cases, counselling or moving house. Affected employees can also request flexible working conditions for up to two months. This is a crucial bit of legislation that's flown a bit under the radar, so you should read our overview here.
4. Payday Filing
Ah, this old chestnut. Employers may be heartily sick of hearing it, but Payday Filing is a massive change in the way businesses file with Inland Revenue. Pay and tax details (formerly the Employer Monthly Schedule) will need to be filed within 2 days of every payday. That's the law from April 1st, and there will be fines if you don't do it the new way! If that's news to you, get on top of it ASAP!
5. Employment Relations Act
Okay, so this one happens in May. The Employment Relations Act is being updated, and you need to edit your contracts (again).
The biggest changes:
- No more 90-day trials for businesses larger than 19 employees
- Further increases to union rights and protections
- Rest and meal breaks are going back to the old rules, set at two ten-minute rests and one half hour meal per 8 hour shift
There's a longer and more exhaustive list of changes here.
There's a lot on the horizon, so don't let any of them get past you! Some stuff is pretty standard, like the minimum wage increase, but there's a major overhaul with Payday Filing and unprecedented employer responsibilities with Domestic Violence Leave. Make sure that everyone in your business knows and understands the changes. You might need to tweak your contracts, onboarding, admin and record-keeping in the next couple of months. Stay sharp and know your deadlines!
Oh, and while you're here - PaySauce can actually give you a hand with most of this stuff. Our software manages payroll, but also leave, KiwiSaver, contracts, and filing, keeping businesses current and compliant. If you're keen to chat about how we make employer's lives easier, give us a call on 0800 746 700.