Assisting employers with employment agreements
It is a requirement of the Employment Relations Act 2000 that every employee has a written employment agreement. There are good precedents available – the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment provides a useful agreement free from its website that balances rights between employers and employees. It is fine to use these templates if you don’t have specific interests or needs that require greater protection in your business.
In our experience, many employers have specific needs that aren’t effectively addressed by the free templates. In particular, protection of specific intellectual property can be a significant issue. We also find that protection of your business’s rights to clients, suppliers and employees is an issue that should be carefully considered. The worst situation to find your business in is a senior employee leaving and then taking clients and employees with them. This can be crippling for an employer.
Further, if you have unusual hours of work for waged employees, the new provisions created to defuse zero hours contracts can create havoc with simply trying to have an effective rostering clause in your agreement. This is definitely an area where we can assist.
It is also worth noting that there are some nuances where we can give you better protection than the free templates.
These relate to matters such as:
- the ability to medically retire or terminate.
- navigating problems with the Holidays Act 2003 by agreeing in the contract concerning some of the difficult grey areas the Act has created
- avoiding difficulties with suspension when an employee claims a right to silence because of criminal matters
- giving your business the ability to place employees on garden leave when they resign or to pay in lieu of notice.
We think it can be very worthwhile having a no-obligation discussion with us to ascertain whether your business has needs that we can assist you with in relation to your employment agreements.