Employsure has not only carefully studied small businesses and their practices over the years, New Zealand’s leading workplace specialists advise employers daily on matters of workplace compliance, employment relations, and health and safety.
Senior Workplace Consultant Ashlea Maley says “Employsure’s experience has helped identify areas in which employers are least confident: legislation requirements and changes, employment agreements, and managing employees.
- Legislation requirements and updates.
For 18 years the Employment Relations Act 2000 (the Act) has provided the legal foundations for managing employee relations right across New Zealand. From providing a structure of negotiating collective agreements to defining an employee – the Act covers the basic elements of employment and the legal protections and obligations of both employers and employees.
The Act also outlines the penalties you, as an employer, or employees can face for breaching any of the obligations in the Act. All business owners and employers need to be confident with the Employment Relations Act.
The Employment Relations Act is not the only important legislation small business owners need to be across. Other legislation breaks down employer obligations and employee entitlements more specifically in areas such as health & safety, holidays and parental leave.
Ashlea suggests SMEs should “Use a workplace relations company like Employsure to help inform you about employment laws which affect your business. It’s extremely stressful as it is for small business and when workplace laws change, or incidents happen, knowledge, preparation and insurance is the best shield. In these situations, it’s important to understand your employer responsibilities but also how to protect yourself and your business.”
- Employment agreements.
A business, no matter how big or small, needs to have the right framework to succeed – policies and procedures are an integral component of that framework. Having solid policies and procedures not only provides direction during moments of uncertainty, they are also crucial for business growth.
An employment agreement defines the relationship of the employer and employee says Ashlea. “It shapes how the employee fits into the company – spelling out clearly how their role links to the framework of the business. From a legal perspective, an employment agreement protects employers. It also sets out the rights and obligations of the employee and employer who are parties to that contract.”
Individual Employment Agreement.
Individual Agreements are employment agreements that have been agreed on through negotiations between employer and employee. The agreement should reflect the discussed and agreed upon terms and conditions of employment.
The agreement then needs to be signed by both parties to demonstrate consent from both sides.
However, the agreement may still be valid without the signature of the employee, if any issues haven’t been raised.
Collective Employment Agreement.
Collective Agreements are employment agreements that have been agreed on through negotiations between employer and registered unions. This applies to employees who are union members and fall under the collective agreement coverage.
What to include in an Employment Agreement?
The contents of an employment agreement will vary based on the job role, business and individual terms and conditions. They can also be as detailed or brief as the employer decides.
- Managing Employees.
Hiring new employees can be a tricky process, especially for small business owners, who may not recruit new employees all that regularly. There are certain legal requirements that need to be followed, but selecting the right person goes beyond this.
Types of Employment.
Before hiring staff, it is important for any business owner to consider the structure of the business and then decide on the type of employment required.
While permanent staff may be the default option for most employers, “Having the right mix of employment types assists to ensure that day-to-day business needs are met while ensuring that your business has the capacity to increase output during peak times” she said.
Below are other types of employment for you to consider:
A fixed-term, or temporary, employee is one who will end his/her employment on a specific time or date
A type of fixed-term employee where their employment comes to an end at the end of, for example, a season
A casual employee works on an irregular basis, with no expectation of ongoing work. There are, however, a lot of questions surrounding casual employees. Watch our senior adviser answer frequently asked questions.
Termination of Employment.
One of the most difficult things for employers to understand and manage correctly within their organisations, big and small, is termination of employment. That is, ending employees’ working arrangements with the business.
With it being an area of employment that is so important and often quite detrimental to a business if done incorrectly, “It is imperative for business owners and employers to understand their employees’ entitlements and the relevant legislation which they need to follow,” she said.
Employsure and Ashlea Maley are running a free online masterclass for business owners and managers who want to build workplace confidence in these three areas.