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Effective management of employment and human resource issues are critical to the success of your business. In today's highly competitive business environment, employers need to be aware of the complex legislation and regulations governing their relationship with their employees.

We have developed particular expertise in advising overseas-based employers on the particulars of the New Zealand Law environment, and the steps necessary to ensure compliance with the employer's obligations under New Zealand legislation.

Why Choose Turner Hopkins

  • We provide advice on all manner of employer enquiries, from quick advice on any given issue, to research and provision of detailed opinion on more complicated scenarios.
  • An ability to control costs by paying only for the actual service and time that you use
  • Flexible hourly rates depending on the level of expertise that you need
  • Highly professional and personal service
  • Timely advice

The Areas We Cover

Our employment law team is experienced in providing practical and effective advice to employers in the following areas:

Employment agreements

We can help employers with drafting the terms of their agreements. Each agreement is tailored to the needs of your workplace and takes into account any special policies in place (such as staff discounts, use of company vehicles, or bonus provisions) or requirements specific to your workplace such as health and safety policies, and restraints of trade.

90-day trial period

Particular care needs to be exercised when attempting to incorporate a 90 day trial provision in an employment agreement. We strongly recommend that employers obtain legal advice in order to ensure that they comply with the requirements necessary to give effect to such a provision.

On-going monitoring

There is a very high standard placed on employers to ensure that they comply with their obligations to record performance reviews and any issues arising from employee's performance or disciplinary matters. We regularly assist clients in ensuring that their processes meet the standard necessary to form effective evidence for the purpose of any disciplinary or performance management processes that may ultimately be required.

Disciplinary processes

At Turner Hopkins we have developed a step by step process guide sheet along with draft sample letters which can be adapted to each proceeding and we are happy to provide these to our employer clients.

Redundancy processes

In circumstances where redundancy is being considered, it is necessary to ensure that all legal and procedural requirements are met. We have extensive experience in assisting employers in ensuring that they meet their obligations where there is a prospect of redundancy for whatever reason. We have established checklists and step by step guides to assist employers in successfully navigating this complex process.

Personal grievances

In the event of a personal grievance being raised, it is necessary for an employer to address the allegations promptly and appropriately. A formal response is normally required within 14 days. We are readily able to assist employers in order to ensure that their position is best protected both at this early stage and subsequently should a personal grievance claim proceed to the Employment Relations Authority, Employment Court and/or through mediation.

Health & Safety

In the area of health and safety, prevention is the best option. If, however, issues arise concerning health and safety (including a prosecution) we can assist employers in ensuring that the very best possible outcome is achieved having regard to the particular circumstances.

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Explore more in Employer Relations


  • What should I include in an employment agreement?

    Normally an employee will have an individual employment agreement. Collective employment agreements tend to be the domain of union-based workers.

    Individual employment agreements need to be in writing and signed by you and your employee. It should include:

    • employer and the employee names
    • job description
    • hours and location of job
    • the wages or salary that you will pay to the employee, as well as incentives such as bonuses
    • redundancy clause
    • jargon-free explanation of the services available for employment relationship problems
    • any trial period
  • Why do I need a bespoke employment contract?

    It is sometimes tempting to use an agreement you have had for many years, a generic 'template' agreement, or one taken from a mate of a mate. It is vital the agreement correctly records the specific terms of the employment relationship, as mistakes can be costly. A bespoke employment agreement will contain clauses to give you more power and confidence.

    It is best to get these drafted by a professional to tailor to the needs of your workplace and taking into account any special policies in place (such as staff discounts, use of company vehicles, or bonus provisions), or requirements specific to your workplace, such as health and safety policies and restraints of trade.

  • Do I need to be careful about fixed term or casual agreements?

    Caution must also be exercised with fixed term and casual agreements as both have specific contractual requirements. If these requirements are not fulfilled then the employer faces the possibility of having its powers under those agreements eroded.

  • When does an employment contract become binding?

    Provided that an offer of employment has been made, and accepted, your employee is "a person intending to work" whether or not they have signed an employment agreement.

    Be aware that an employee who does not have an agreement prior to beginning work may then bargain on each and every point in the agreement, when it is presented after commencement of employment. The employer and employee may then negotiate over the terms until they come to agreement.

    From 1 July 2011, it was mandatory a signed employment agreement is held on file by you for every employee. This will include casual, part-time, fixed term and permanent employees.

  • Why do I need a lawyer for employment matters?

    There are many reasons you may need a lawyer in employment matters. It is an unfortunate reality that things don't always work out in the workplace.

  • What happens if there is not enough work for my staff?

    In recessionary times it is unfortunate that sometimes work may dry up and you end up overstaffed. Or, you may decide to take your business in new directions and plan to reduce your workforce. Either way, you will probably be looking to make various positions redundant.

    If you are in this position, you need to consider a few aspects:

    • Your staff's position must genuinely be surplus to requirements
    • There needs to be a genuine business reason to end a position. So you can't get rid of a position and then re-advertise the role when it is virtually identical to the previous position.
    • The position redundancy can not be related in any way to performance of your staff

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