Terms & Conditions of employment

What to put in Employment Agreements
Agreements must be in writing where there is no collective agreement. Under the Employment Relations Act 2000, where there is no collective agreement the individual employment agreement must be in writing and must include:

  • The names of the employer and the employee (to make clear who the parties to the agreement are).
  • A description of the work (to make clear what the employee is actually expected to do).
  • An indication of where the employee is to work.
  • An indication of arrangements relating to working hours.
  • Wage rates or salary.
  • A plain language explanation of services is available to help sort out employment relationship problems.
  • A requirement to pay time and a half for work on a public holiday.

Minimum rights in Legislation
Some minimum terms and conditions of employment are imposed by legislation. These terms still apply, even if they have not been written into the collective or individual employment agreement. Employers and employees cannot agree to do away with any of these entitlements. They can, however, agree to better provisions if they wish.

The minimum legislative requirements cover the following issues:

  • Minimum wages.
  • Annual leave.
  • Public holidays.
  • Sick leave.
  • Bereavement leave.
  • Parental leave.
  • Leave for defence force volunteers.

You can get more detailed information about your minimum employment rights on the Employment Relations website (www.ers.dol.govt.nz/relationships).

What must not be in an Employment Agreement?
Employment agreements must not include anything that goes against any law, whether employment, civil or criminal law. Unlawful provisions in an employment agreement cannot be enforced.

What other Issues can appear in Individual Employment Agreements?
There are a number of optional matters that are often found in employment agreements. These are issues that employers and employees may wish to include in the agreement or bargain about. The ERS website offers an Employment Agreement Builder (www.ers.dol.govt.nz/relationships/builder) that enables you to develop an agreement that suits your employment.

  1. Holidays.
    There are requirements for holiday provisions that apply whether or not they are included in an employment agreements. The employer and employee can agree to apply better provision overall, but cannot agree to reduce any provision.

  2. Annual leave.
    Employees are entitled by law to a minimum of three weeks' paid annual leave after being in the job for a year, or to holiday pay for periods of employment less than one year.

  3. Public holidays.
    The 11 public holidays in the Holidays Act apply unless the employer and employee agree to substitute other days. If employees work on public holidays they must be paid at least time and a half for hours worked on a public holiday. If it is a day on which they would otherwise have worked they are also entitled to another day off as an alternative holiday (a day in lieu).

  4. Sick leave.
    Employees are entitled by law to five days' sick leave after being in the job for six months, and for each subsequent twelve months. If the leave is not taken, it can accumulate up to a maximum of 20 days.

  5. Bereavement leave.
    Employees are entitled by law to three days' bereavement leave after being in the job for six months, on the death of an immediate family member. Additionally, the employee is entitled to one days' bereavement leave where the employer accepts that the employee has suffered bereavement.