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Know your responsibilities as an Employer – Get your employment offers right – Do it Right | Thara Ratnayaka | Wellington

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There are a lot of employers who are running small businesses or family businesses in NZ.  Giving someone a job and accepting a new job offer is very exciting to an employee, and it is a massive deal for many of us. It is your responsibility as an employer to make that a better experience by doing the start right and being compliant with New Zealand employee relations. So it is imperative to get an employment offer right and make the correct agreements to keep you safe and respectful.

A written employment agreement is a legal document, and it will help you to have a healthy relationship with your employees as you can be clear on what to do and the benefits and obligations you have agreed to. Having a formal employment agreement will prevent you from being fined and avoid employment issues and being put forward a grievance on you. Most employers get fined for not following the proper process and discriminating against employees. So doing things right can save you a lot of money.

There are many types of employment you can think about for your business, and I have seen many employers face problems by not making the right choice. So getting to know the types of employment will help you to figure out what sort of employment is suitable for your business with your circumstances.   

Permanent employment, Permanent part-time, fixed terms, and casual employment are the most common types of employment. Out of these employment agreements, fixed-term employment and casual employment are the common types of employment we can have in a small business environment. So I will write some tips about the most tricky employment types of fixed-term and casual.

Fixed-term employment always should be genuine and have a valid reason for it as per the NZ employment law. Fixed-term employment should be set up for a fixed time, and it will end after a certain work is completed.  As we all know, sometimes things are not going as planned, so we have to change our business plans accordingly, so having all of your terms and conditions correct will allow you to take suitable action if you need to. Not only for you, but this will also clarify the employee to be clear on the arrangements and plan on their future. When you are hiring for a fixed term, the employee should be notified about the reason. So usually, you will hire a fixed term to cover someone on leave or parental leave or for project work or a high work volume. The other important thing is not to roll over fixed terms over and over again as they can be considered as permanent employees and not a genuine fixed term. Please note this is a very tricky type of agreement where it will be a case on case basis as per the type of business you are doing, and not all the fixed terms can be the same.

Casual employment does not identify employment legislation, but it should not have guaranteed work hours or a fixed work pattern. The work pattern and the arrangement should be stated in the agreement. Casual employment is usually offered when the employers are not clear on when the work arises, and these agreements work as works come and suit both employer and employee. It is crucial that you do not provide regular fixed work hours while you have a casual employment agreement; instead, you change the agreement type.

If you offer a regular pattern or a fixed number of hours to your employee while he is on a casual agreement, this is becoming permanent part-time employment. So if you fire the employee at some point, the employee can claim as unjustified dismissal as you haven’t followed a proper process to terminate the employment as you should do in permanent employment.

Determining your employment contracts as per your requirements can be tricky as well as taking the wrong step may lead to destroying your business as well as your image. So it’s good to give some thoughts on when you are deciding the employment for your organisation.

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