complying with all minimum standards legislation and with the Employment Relations Act 2000. If you are entitled to any redundancy entitlements, these will be found in your collective or individual employment agreements, or any other agreement you’ve made with employer. Complying with all obligations within contracts and enterprise agreements to consult about the redundancy, Taking an open mind to your proposals, being responsive and communicating with you through the process, Consider any reasonable opportunities for redeployment, If there is a vacant position that you are able to work – your employer must redeploy you to this position. Where changes to current working arrangements are proposed by an employer, there are specific good faith requirements that must be followed. Parties must not act in a misleading or deceptive way. It’s important for employers to use good hiring processes, and for everyone to follow minimum rights and responsibilities. An employer cannot just declare themselves an essential industry and keep going. Benefits and payments – Work and Income (external link). In these circumstances, if you are working from home, and looking after your children, your employer must pay your full wage. If it doesn't, they can't do this without you agreeing first. AG - 30-Apr-18 @ 5:08 PM. Employment at will means that when workers don't have a formal employment contract or are covered by a bargaining agreement they can be terminated, demoted, and have hours reduced or pay lowered at the company's discretion. These changes require additional good faith or other process arrangements, including consulting with employees and their representatives, providing time to respond to proposals and considering their comments. Parties must be responsive and communicative. retain the employees named in their subsidy applications for the period they are receiving the subsidy, personal grievance for unjustified dismissal. Employers who need to reduce pay will have to secure their employee’s consent first before they can adjust remuneration. This includes normal consultation timeframes and provision of information. Employment agreement obligations are not varied by any of the current government schemes. No. The employer is obliged to consult with employees and to consider their feedback. Working from home does not require a new employment agreement and your employer can’t just make you sign one. First they need to give a valid reason – not just “COVID-19”. The first job of the day is to organise the room attendants scheduals and to organise who will be cleaning what rooms. For example, you might be asked to work a three-day week, instead of a five-day week. Can my employer make me use my sick leave or annual leave for COVID-19? https://www.health.govt.nz/news-media/news-items/need-talk-free-phone-or-text-1737. Agreed periods where the employee is available and not available, this may mean accommodating for work being done in evenings. Some employers are saying they are “suspending” their business to stop paying people. If the employee has agreed then this would be legal, but only if the … There are instances where an employer in Ontario may be able to reduce your salary without penalty. Employers should only use these clauses to vary a contract if they have a good reason, for example the business is struggling financially and needs to cut staff hours. They can’t keep you working in any capacity. Generally entitlements will include notice or pay in lieu of notice and possibly redundancy pay. I work in a school kitchen - can my employers reduce my hours by nearly half but still expect the same level of work to be done. Even if you are a casual workers still have rights. If there’s not enough work for you, your employer might ask you not to come into work, or to take unpaid leave. Every employer, self-employed person, and earner pays an ACC levy to cover the cost of injuries under New Zealand’s accident compensation scheme. Employees can ask also to change their work arrangements, place, hours, or days. Meetings of half an hour as standard, one hour maximum, An alert like a text message rather than an email with urgent work so people are not having to constantly monitor email (or agree on a preferred communication style with employee). This is a matter of agreement; it can not be imposed on you. Do not go out if you are unwell– even in the same home – stay away from others if you are unwell. The essential health measures to reduce the spread of infection and eliminate corona virus are: If you are an essential worker there will be specific health and safety precaution in your workplace. Workers seeking Information on corona virus and on all health aspects of the virus can find that on the website https://covid19.govt.nz/   The Ministry of Health’s website  is updated daily and contains the most up to date and comprehensive information about coronavirus including all the health and safety precaution for various groups of workers. It is unlawful for an employer to ‘offer’ a variation on a take it or leave it basis. As we are now in the COVID-19 recovery phase, normal consultation processes should be followed for any workplace changes proposed during the COVID-19 recovery period. This is not generally true, unless there is a specific clause in your employment contract that allows for it. You can give your employees a range of hours to work within, and they can choose the actual hours … What should happen when my employer applies for the COVID-19 wages subsidy? Employers and employees must discuss in good faith the implications of COVID-19 on their working arrangements. These changes require additional good faith or other process arrang… And is it just you or is it all staff? Still haven't found what you're looking for? If an employee requests extra hours for extra pay, and you know there’s enough extra work for them to do safely and don’t think it will negatively impact their performance, you could increase their hours. Even if there is a clause like this in your contract, it does not remove the employer’s obligations under the law, including to consult with you in good faith about any changes to your contract. If your employer alters your ordinary hours or roster without consent or discussion, and without the express right to do so under the contract, you may be able to claim constructive dismissal and/or damages for any loss suffered … Most employment agreements  require the employer to provide work. If you want to reduce an employee’s pay based on performance, it is recommended that you undertake a performance review and implement a performance management policy first. You do not have to agree to a trial period. Some employers and employees may agree to a reduction in hours during the COVID-19 Alert Levels. Provide you with all relevant information about the proposal to make you redundant, Provide you the opportunity to properly consider this information, Allow you to have input into the decision-making process by allowing you to make proposals. We’ll send you a link to a feedback form. Editor: As it says above, you should be consulted on any change in the terms and conditions of your contract. Your employer may ask you to do a 90-day trial in a new job. If your employee does not meet these standards, you are able to raise a personal grievance for unjustified dismissal. You should use sick leave only if you are sick. If an employee thinks that the change to their hours is disadvantaging them and that the process the employer followed was unfair or there were no genuine reasons for changing the hours of work, an employee should first try to resolve the issue with their … I work in a hotel as a head housekeeper. Good faith includes the following three elements: Good faith is also wider than this. There are several requirements on employers and safeguards against wrongful redundancies. They still have to follow your employment agreement. Hi. This means: Undertaking genuine consultation before the decision is made and not just approaching you after they make a decision. They must also follow a fair process in coming to the decision to make an employee redundant. They took on a new person to cover the maternity leaver, I questioned this and was told they needed some one to cover odd days. The Employment Relations Authority may also look at other issues, such as whether the employer provided you with counselling, with career and financial advice, and with retraining. It is important for you to understand the context of the COVID-19 wage subsidy. Looking after our own mental health and wellness is vitally important as we face these unprecedented times with new demands whether you be at home or an essential worker. Any agreed change to the employment agreement should be recorded in writing. This is not true. Employers and employees may want flexible ways of working during this time (for example, staggering start times to avoid peak times for public transport). There are some relief packages for business and individuals and increased support for those who have been impacted by COVID-19. This video has some simple strong and well-presented messages:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDUkmAdKsJE&feature=emb_title, The Mental Health Foundation has specific tips for looking after your mental health and wellbeing during COVID-19 and getting through based on the five ways of wellbeing: https://www.mentalhealth.org.nz/get-help/covid-19/top-tips-to-get-through/, For people who battle with mental health issues it is a super stressful time as people deal with loss of contacts, medication worries, anxiety and new or increased symptoms of mental distress. Please note that this content will change over time and may be out of date. If you are working your normal hours while at home, the law says you have to be paid your normal wages or salary. Your employer can cut back on your hours if it says they can in your contact. Does this mean that if your boss says, “I'm cutting your pay” that you can say, “No thanks, I'll continue at the higher rate of pay"? Not working because of a health condition or disability (includes no sick leave) –, The different costs for help with and what you can get –, Rent/board costs – Accommodation Supplement –. You are entitled to all money that is owed to – pay, annual leave, redundancy pay – if any is covered in your employment areement. During the COVID-19 response period, there may have been circumstances where consultation on changes could reasonably have been shortened if the employer genuinely needed to make rapid adjustments to cope with their circumstances. And they have to pay you for whatever notice period you have in you employment agreement (for example if they have to give two weeks notice, they have to pay you for two weeks from their final decision to make you redundant). Your employer can’t just change your employement agreement because of COVID19 or ever. Variation clauses will only generally allow reasonable changes and even if there is a variation clause, if you are unhappy you may still be able to “protest” the change and seek legal advice. Can my employer change my employment agreeement because of COVID-19? There will be cases in which workers may feel it appropriate to agree to changes (a variation) of their employment agreements to reduce wages or hours. The wage subsidy schemes support employers and their staff who are financially impacted by COVID-19 to maintain an employment connection and ensure an income for affected employees. Make sure when you cough or sneeze cough and sneeze into your arm, use a tissue not your hand, and wash your hands after coughing, sneezing or using tissues. Parties should discuss these matters and agree to arrangements in good faith. In some situations, (such as genuine financial, commercial or economic problems, or genuine restructuring of the business), reducing an employee’s rate of pay may be put forward as an alternative to redundancy. Instead of reducing your working hours your employer may make you redundant and offer you alternative work under a new contract of employment. Alternatively, employers may propose changes to work times or moving to shift work arrangements to manage physical distancing requirements. The following factsheets are currently available: Further down this page you can also find information on welfare and benefits and your physical and mental health during the pandemic. What are my right in this situation, can he just reduce my hours to suit the business. You can also log specific workplace problems that you are facing in relation to COVID-19 here. If you are available to work – whether at home or not – people should either be fully paid or, if their employer is accessing the wage subsidy, their employer must make “best efforts” to fully pay them and should, at the very least, pay them the full amount of the subsidy. They must genuinely consider any proposal you put forward. This could be a temporary change until the employee can resume their existing job. Any changes to your current agreement have to be agreed to and can’t have life after things go back to normal. What to do if my salary is being reduced. Answer: An employer is permitted to set hours of work and to make certain limited changes to your hours of work. If you do agree, it must be part of your signed, written employment agreement before you start work. What about workplace health and safety and COVID-19? This is legal and may make the most sense for you if your employer tries to cut your … Employment laws still apply, and the receiver will be required to keep in regular contact with you and act in good faith. This must be negotiated in good faith. Your employer can force them through and dismiss you if you refuse to do the changed hours. Some contracts of employment contain a variation clause that can allow your employer to make changes to your contract. It will largely depend on the terms of your contract as to whether your employer can reduce your hours and pay. Can my employer reduce my hours? In relation to COVID this should include providing appropriate protective equipment and making sure you are physically spaced. Your employer can’t change your contract without your agreement. Unfortunately, employers can, in most cases, cut your pay or reduce your hours since most employees are "hired at will." Generally, if an employment agreement sets the employee's hours of work, then an employer can’t change them without the employee's agreement. Employment lawyer Charles Power, Editor-in-Chief of the Employment Law Practical Handbook, says you cannot reduce an employee’s hours from full-time to part-time unless they agree. If employees are facing difficulties (for example, where they have had a reduction in hours of work) they may also be able to access support from Work and Income. Keeping businesses viable and New Zealanders employed is one of the main priorities during these uncertain times. You are not obliged to accept a variation to your contract however there may be consequences of not accepting a variation. The best way to prevent and resolve relationship problems between employers and employees. So you would have a right to continue being paid and an employer could not just terminate your employment because of COVID-19. A very clear list of essential industries is available here. If your employer has not engaged with you and ignored queries raised about your change of hours and roster it may be committing a breach of your employment agreement. In particular, if your employer wants to make changes that would make it hard for you to carry on with your job, they have to give you all the information and give you the chance to have your say before they make their final decision. During the Government imposed COVID-19 lockdown, the Government has made a wage subsidy available that employers can apply for to assist them to meet their wages/salary obligations. However this may affect your entitlement to a redundancy payment. Consult with you before making the final decision. Why? An employer can’t change the job description of an employee without the employee’s agreement. If you are working your normal hours while at home, the law says you have to be paid your normal wages or salary. Any changes made need to be agreed to by both parties. Where changes to current working arrangements are proposed by an employer, there are specific good faith requirements that must be followed. Clear workplace policies and procedures support employment agreements and mean everyone knows how things are meant to be done. For example, you can offer them reduced hours or increased annual leave entitlements. Section 4 of the Employment Relations Act 2000. They have to be done in “good faith” – you have to have a say, you need to be given time to consider them and seek advice and you can’t be threatened to accept any change (for example,” If you don’t to this, I will have to let you go”. Instead, you and your employer could agree to a policy or letter with temporary changes to your work arrangements while you are working at home. Employees who lose their job between 1 March and 30 October 2020 due to COVID-19 may be able to get the COVID-19 Income Relief Payment. If your contract states your employer can amend any term of the contract, this may be far too wide–ranging and unspecific, so the employer could not change your contract without your agreement. This means your employer will reduce your working hours, or your work days each week, on reduced pay. Or ring your GP but do not turn up to your GP unannounced – they will arrange an alternative way for you to be assessed or seen. If your employer tries to make you take annual or sick leave make it clear that they cannot legally do so. Guidance for Trade Unions as an essential service. Having the agreed terms and conditions in writing is a legal requirement, whether the change is temporary or permanent. To help us improve GOV.UK, we’d like to know more about your visit today. Employees have been sent home, and schools closed, by the Government. PSA: enquiries@psa.org.nz 0508 367 772 If my employer doesn’t provide enough work to fill my guaranteed hours do I get paid for them? She also says your boss can't cut your pay without your agreement. The COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme is available for employers, including sole traders, to pay their employees who can't work because the employee can't come into work as per Ministry of Health guidelines, which recommends they stay at home, and they are not able to work from home because of the nature of work. This means that normal obligations to keep in regular contact and to act in good faith are more important than ever. If an employee is working (either from home, or at a workplace), then they must be paid for each and every hour that they work at their agreed wage rate. At Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC, we understand the challenges of going up against an employer. If your employee tries to wrongfully reduce your benefits, you can take legal action to secure your compensation and hold them accountable. And there are a series of downloadable fact sheets on employment-related issues and COVID-19 here. Regular employment law still applies to all employment relationships – regardless of the circumstances that we find ourselves in. If I am working my normal hours either at home or at an essential business, can my employer reduce my pay? These changes can be temporary or permanent. Employers can only tell you to reduce your hours if it's already outlined in your contract saying that they can. People can check their eligibility and apply online on the Work and Income website. “Provided the employer follows a fair process and there is a genuine need to cost-cut, they can make employees redundant to … If there are difficulties accessing these or not understood or not being complied with please do contact your union. If the employer is unable to provide work, such as in the current circumstances of a Government ordered lockdown, it is likely you are entitled to be paid, in the absence of a term in your employment agreement which specifies otherwise. Any changes must be recorded in writing and signed by both parties, and the parties must be given reasonable time to consider the proposal. But in the circumstances this is something a lot of employers are doing to help manage their revenue loss. Can my employer just stop paying me because of COVID-19? Your employer has to keep honouring your employment agreement. Only employers with fewer than 20 employees can do this. There are several ways in which employment relationships may be ended, such as resignation, retirement, dismissal or redundancy. If an employer has been placed into receivership the receiver will have responsibility for decisions on running the business and this includes handling the business’s employment relationships. In some situations (such as genuine financial, commercial or economic problems, or genuine restructuring of the business), reducing an employee’s hours may be put forward as an alternative to redundancy. 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