It's about time – review of the Holidays Act announced
This week it was announced that a Holidays Act Working Group has been established to conduct a full review of the Holidays Act 2003 (the Act). Here's what you need to know:
There is widespread non-compliance with the Act and it is generally accepted that this is due to issues with implementation of the legislation in payroll systems, and issues with the legislation itself. The result is that employers are uncertain of their obligations and many employees are not receiving their correct entitlements.
The Group aims to produce a new, or significantly amended, piece of legislation that is easier to use and is designed with the future labour market in mind.
In particular, the Group will develop, test and make recommendations to the Government on the provisions of, and payment for, holidays and leave entitlements.
The Group’s aim is to:
- make the legislation simpler, clearer and more certain;
- make holiday and leave entitlements more readily applicable to the increasingly diverse range of working and pay arrangements; and
- make the legislation more readily implementable by payroll systems.
The purposes of the current Act and (at least) the current levels of entitlements will be retained. The Group will not consider the complex issue of remediation of historical underpayments under the Act.
The Group will work with technical experts (including payroll providers) to assist with the design and testing of policy options. The Group is required to support its recommendations with quantitative analysis and testing using real payroll data, to ensure the options are in fact readily implementable.
The Group will be made up of employer, worker and government representatives. Gordon Anderson, a law professor at Victoria University, will be the independent chair of the Group.
The Group will report back to the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety within the next 12 months and an interim report on the Group’s progress will be provided in six months. It is likely to be two to three years before any new legislation is passed.
What about the meantime?
In the meantime, employers will need to consider how to best meet their obligations under the current Act. This may mean investing in new payroll systems or managing issues with current systems through manual fixes. The Labour Inspectorate will continue their programme of audits and investigations, and unfortunately the well-known fact that the current Act has issues is no defence to non-compliance.
Who can help
Partner - Dispute Resolution and Litigation
Aaron is a partner in the firm’s dispute resolution division. He advises clients on a range of litigious and risk related matters, with particular expertise in the areas of white collar criminal and regulatory affairs, sports law and employment law. Aaron leads our sports law practice, and is a member of the firm’s health and safety and public law teams.
Aaron is well regarded by clients for his ability to analyse and strategise complex situations. He is recognised by both clients, and his peers, for being able to implement pragmatic and commercial strategies to minimise risk and create opportunity for our clients. His ability has resulted in clients avoiding significant litigation and commercial consequences.
In 2017 Aaron was named by Chambers & Partners (Asia Pacific) as one of New Zealand’s leading sports lawyers, and has been recognised for his employment and sports law expertise in other legal directories including Asia-Pacific Legal 500 and Who’s Who.
Before joining MinterEllisonRuddWatts Aaron practiced as a barrister with Paul Davison QC, and has lectured at the University of Auckland.
Partner - Employment
Gillian is an experienced advocate with a pragmatic approach that is highly valued by clients. She helps clients manage risks and protect business proprietary interests. Gillian negotiates executive severance arrangements and represents clients in personal grievance claims through all levels of the New Zealand court system.
Her broad employment practice includes advising on restraints of trade and protection of confidential information; industrial relations and collective bargaining matters; restructuring programmes including outsourcing, redundancy and consultation processes; and health and safety matters.
Gillian is an internationally recognised employment law specialist, with significant experience practicing in top tier law firms in New Zealand, Scotland and England.
Partner - Employment and Public Law
Megan leads both the public law team and the Wellington employment team and acts for both public and private sector clients. She has practiced law for over 20 years in top tier firms in New Zealand, Australia and London, and sits on the partnership’s board.
Her practice traverses strategic, litigious and time-critical day-to-day advice on all aspects of Public law and Employment related law. Megan regularly acts for numerous government departments and crown entities (including central government education agencies).
Bringing significant experience to all employment related matters, Megan regularly advises on drafting employment agreements and HR policies, managing poor performance, restructuring and redundancy, disciplinary investigations and dismissals, leave entitlements, minimum standards compliance, secondments, fixed term employment, KiwiSaver, collective bargaining, independent contractor arrangements, establishing business in NZ and recruiting staff, and restraints of trade and other post termination obligations.
As a recognised expert in Employment law, Megan is on the Editorial Boards of employment publications and is also the co-author of the Laws of New Zealand Employment chapter. As a recognised expert in Public Law, Megan is also an external member of the Legislation, Design and Advisory Committee (which is an appointment by the Attorney General).
Megan is also a Public Law expert and advises on exercise of statutory powers, legislative drafting, discrimination and judicial review proceedings, risk management and legal compliance and governance.
Megan’s leading expertise across Employment and Public Law is consistently noted in independent national and international peer guides, including Chambers Global and Chambers Asia Pacific.
She also has specialist expertise in PPPs having acted for the Ministry of Defence (UK) on their defence procurement and Railtrack plc on the privatisation of the UK railway.
Special Counsel - Employment
Emma, a Special Counsel in the Wellington Employment team, has been with the firm since 2002. Emma undertakes a wide variety of work in the areas of employment law, health and safety, public law and education law.
Emma’s areas of expertise span both contentious and non-contentious issues, including drafting employment documentation, representing both private and public sector employers at mediation, the Employment Relations Authority and the Employment Court, and providing legal opinions on employment, health and safety, and public law issues.
Emma assists clients with employment due diligence and provides advice on all employment-related aspects of taking on new staff, or buying or transferring a business. She also assists clients with employment issues arising in the context of receiverships. Emma has extensive experience assisting employers to carry out restructuring, poor performance and disciplinary processes.
Senior Associate - Employment
Chris has extensive experience advising corporate clients on a wide range of employment and health and safety matters.
With a background in commercial litigation, Chris regularly represents clients in mediations and in proceedings before the Employment Relations Authority and the courts. He advises on all employment related matters, including statutory compliance, restraints of trade, disciplinary investigations, restructuring processes, personal grievances, poor performance, leave entitlements, employment agreements and policies, industrial relations, and workplace health and safety.
Senior Associate - Employment
June has broad experience in all aspects of both New Zealand and English employment law. June regularly advises on senior executive appointments and terminations; restraints of trade and protection of confidential information; performance and disciplinary processes; restructuring, redundancy and outsourcing programmes; industrial relations and collective bargaining matters; whistleblowing and protected disclosures; and employee data privacy issues. June has been involved in litigation at all levels of the New Zealand court system, both in relation to substantive disputes and urgent interlocutory matters. June has significant experience in acting for both private and listed companies in the financial services, pharmaceutical and healthcare, and food and beverage sectors.
June recently returned to New Zealand, having practiced at a magic circle firm in London for several years, and at another top tier New Zealand law firm prior to that. During her time in London, June regularly advised leading private equity houses and FTSE100 companies on employment law and regulatory issues.