When working in New Zealand, it is very important that you are aware your rights and responsibilities as an employee. You must understand the country’s employment laws so you’ll know how to protect yourself in case something goes wrong.
Employee rights and obligations
The country’s employment law states that you and your employer both have certain rights and obligations. For instance, your employer is obliged to pay you an agreed wage and ensure your safety when working.
On your end, you must perform your job satisfactorily and follow company rules, among other things. You should also stay within the conditions of your visa. If you have a work visa, it might be tied to your employer, industry, or to a particular city or region. In case you want to work for another company/city, you’ll need to apply for a variation of conditions first.
You are required to sign a written agreement before you can start working for any company. If there’s something in your contract you’re not sure about, you can take the time to go over it or ask someone for advice. You can also negotiate the terms and conditions of your contract. However, make sure you do it before signing the agreement.
About half of all employers in New Zealand use trial periods so it is very likely that your employer will ask you to do a 90-day trial. Trials are voluntary and must be agreed to in writing before you start working.
Leaves and holidays
When working in NZ, you are entitled to a minimum of four weeks annual leave. You can convert one week’s leave to its equivalent in cash, if you prefer. Also, there are 11 public holiday days in NZ. If you work on a public holiday, your employer is required to pay you extra. And if you get sick, you can get a certain amount of paid leave.
Wages and deductions
As of 2014, the minimum wage in NZ is $14.25 an hour or $570 for a standard 40-hour work week. Income tax is deducted from your wage before you get paid. ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation) levy, which covers the cost of your hospitalisation if you’re injured, will also be deducted from your pay.
Discrimination and harassment
Any form of discrimination and sexual harassment is illegal in New Zealand. If you think you have been discriminated against or sexually harassed in the workplace, you can file a complaint and seek the assistance of the authorities.