Parliament has recently passed amendments to several key pieces of employment legislation. The main goal of these changes is to promote “fairness and improve productivity in the workplace by enhancing protections and benefits for both employers and employees.” According to an article by Lexology, here are six must know changes to employment law:
- No more zero hour contracts. Availability provisions that require an employee to be available for work and to accept any work offered to them, without the requirement that the employer actually provide work, will be prohibited. Some exceptions include:
- The employer has a genuine reasons based on reasonable grounds for including provisions.
- The employee is compensated for making him/herself available to work.
- Agreed hours of work. Agreed hours of work must be recorded in each employee’s individual employment agreement. The agreement may include:
- Guaranteed hours
- Which days work will be performed
- Start and finish times
- Any flexibly
- Cancelation of shifts. Prior to the cancelation of an employee’s shift, the employer will need to give a reasonable period of notice. This will be specified in the employment agreement. The agreement must also detail the amount of compensation payable if that notice period is not given.
- Secondary employment. Employers will need to provide genuine reasons in the employment agreements if the company wants to restrict secondary employment. Acceptable reasons may include protecting the employer’s commercial sensitive information and intellectual property.
- Enforcement of employee standards. Employers will need to keep detailed records of worker hours, including hours worked by salaried employees. This is to ensure that employers demonstrate that they are complying with minimum entitlement provisions.
- Deductions from wages. In order to prevent employers from making unreasonable deductions from employee’s wages, the Wage Protection Act of 1983 has been amended. Deductions from an employee’s wage as a consequence of employee theft are considered unreasonable.
These new requirements will come into force on April 1, 2016. As an employer it is critical to make the necessary changes in order to comply with these new requirements.