No one wants their business to get into hot water, but failing to follow employment laws will put you on a fast track to a boiling pot.
However, when Business.govt.nz surveyed small businesses recently, many respondents said they lacked confidence when it came to both legal matters and staff and employment. (This means that if you’re uncertain about these issues, you’re not alone. Remember that there are more than 160,000 small businesses in NZ employing people.)
Uncertainty in this area is understandable. It takes time and resources to keep track of employment law. But while it may be tempting to give up trying and just rely on a handshake as an agreement, this is a bad idea.
By law you must have written employment agreements for everyone you employ, no matter what they do, or for how long.
The good news is that employment agreements have been made easier with Business.govt.nz’s Employment Agreement Builder (EAB) – a free online tool to create contracts tailored to the needs of your business.
The tool makes clear what clauses are mandatory and what are voluntary, with explanations in plain English. It’s packed with helpful tips, highlights common mistakes to watch out for and is regularly updated to ensure it reflects the latest regulations.
With the EAB, a lengthy process which may have previously needed an appointment with a lawyer can now be done confidently on your own in about 30 minutes, depending on the agreement type. This means less time working on contracts, and more time working on your business.
The EAB also helps you to avoid faults commonly seen by Labour Inspectors, such as:
- overloading agreements with clauses irrelevant to role itself or the business,
- leaving out mandatory clauses, and
- not complying with minimal employment standards, e.g. leave or breaks.