Types of Employees



Homeworkers are Employees
Anyone who works for somebody else in a private home (other than work on the house or its fittings or furniture) continues to be classed as an employee under the Employment Relations Act 2000. This might be so even if the arrangement does not look like an employment relationship. For example, a person who works at home and buys in material to make a product that is sold back to the provider could be considered a homeworker.


People Intending to Work are Employees
The Employment Relations Act 2000 says that people who have been offered and have accepted employment are employees from the date of acceptance. They have the rights of employees. This applies even if the employees have not actually started to do the work.


Fixed-term and Seasonal Employees
Sometimes employers and employees agree that employment will be for a set period of time (e.g. for six months) or until a certain event occurs (e.g. until a particular project ends) or until work is completed (e.g. until the fruit is picked).

The basic rights and obligations of employees and employers apply to fixed-term and seasonal employment, except that the employment relationship ends at the end of the fixed term. The way in which provisions for annual holidays, sick and bereavement leave are applied can vary for these employees. Details are available on the Employment Relations website at www.ers.dol.govt.nz/holidays_act_2003 or you can get advice by phoning 0800 800 863.

Note, however, that employers must have genuine reasons for the fixed term. An employee cannot have a fixed-term arrangement when the job is really a permanent one. Also, employers have some special obligations when employing employees on a fixed term.


Casual or Part-Time Employees
Sometimes employment is on a “casual” basis. In other words, the employer and employee agree that the employer will offer the employee work when work is available. Temping agencies often employ people on this basis. At other times, employers employ employees on a “part-time” basis (e.g. 7am to 10am on Tuesdays and Thursdays).

The basic rights of full-time employees apply equally to part-time employees. These rights also apply to casual employees, but the way in which provisions for annual holidays, sick and bereavement leave are applied can vary for these employees. Details are available on the Employment Relations website, or you can get advice by phoning 0800 800 863.


Probationary or Trial Employees
An employer might state in writing that a new employee is “on probation” or “on trial” for some period (e.g. three months). The basic rights and obligations of employees and employers apply to probationary employment. Employers have some special obligations when employing employees on a probationary arrangement.


Changing Employment Status
Sometimes a person will move between being an employee in some work situations and a self-employed contractor in others. You need to be an employee to have employee rights under the Employment Relations Act and other employment laws, but if you become injured you have the right to weekly compensation from ACC whether you are an employee or a self-employed person. However, the amount of that compensation may be limited if you frequently move between being an employee and being self-employed.

This is because if you're an employee when you're injured, your compensation is calculated on your previous earnings as an employee. Similarly, if you're self-employed when you're injured, your compensation is calculated on your previous earnings as a self-employed person.

It's an important factor to consider when you weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of changing employment status. You can get more information on this topic from the ACC website at http://www.acc.co.nz/claimscare/entitlements/weekly-compensation