Changes that take effect on April 2019
Domestic Violence Leave
As of 1 April 2019 Employers must give Employee affected by domestic violence up to 10 days’ domestic violence leave if they require it. This will be treated in the same manner as sick and bereavement leave and can be taken when and as necessary.
Employees may request a short term variation (up to two months) to their working arrangements which may include change of hours, location and duties. An employer must respond to a request within 10 working days and cannot unreasonably refuse a request.
Changes that take effect on 6 May 2019
90 day trial periods
Employers with more than 20 employees will not be able to utilise 90 day trial periods. These employers will be able to use probationary periods but employees dismissed under a probationary period are still able to raise a claim for unjustified dismissal. If you employ more than 20 employees and your employment agreements include a 90 day trial period your employment agreements will require review
Meal and Rest breaks
Employees will be entitled to minimum rest and meal breaks as set out in the Act. The meal breaks will vary for the number of hours they work for example an employee who works for eight (8) hours must have two (2) ten minute paid rest breaks and a 30 minute unpaid meal break.
Increased Union Rights and Collective Agreements
Employers will need to be aware of the changes to the law governing collective agreements and unions if these changes apply to their business. Employers will now need to provide information about unions to prospective employees, and a copy of the collective agreement. Employers will be required to allow union representative reasonable time and opportunities to perform their duties. Employees will also need to be paid the same rate as if they were working when carrying out work for the union, although employers can refuse the request if it will unreasonably disrupt the employees performance and ability to carry out their employment duties.
Any new employees who are non-union members will need to be hired on with the same terms as the collective agreement for their first 30 days of the employment. Following the first 30 days, the employee and the employer can negotiate individual terms.
The above changes in law will mean many employers will need to make changes to their employments agreements in order to comply. It’s important as an employer that you are aware of your obligations. If you have any questions or would like advice on amending your employment agreements please contact Shelley Greer or Georgia Watts at Gallie Miles, we would be happy to assist you.