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Different types of employment agreements and arrangements

Individual employment agreements

What is an individual employment agreement?

Employment Relations Act 2000, ss 60 – 69

An individual employment agreement covers one employee and one employer.

They can be used when:

  • there’s no collective agreement that covers your job, or
  • there is a collective agreement but you’re not a member of the relevant union and don’t want to join the union.

What must be in an individual employment agreement?

Employment Relations Act 2000, ss 65, 67C, 69OJ

An individual employment agreement must be in writing and can contain whatever terms you and your employer have agreed on.

However, the agreement must include at least the following terms:

  • Names – the names of you and your employer
  • Work – a description of the work you’ll be doing
  • Place – where your workplace will be
  • Hours – an indication of the arrangements for the times that you’ll work. If you and your boss have agreed on set hours, these must be stated in your written agreement. For more details, including about “zero-hour” contracts and availability clauses, see the chapter “Employment conditions and protections”, under “Hours, shifts and breaks”.
  • Pay – the wages or salary that you’ll be paid
  • Services for resolving problems – a plain-language explanation of the services available for resolving employment relationship problems
  • Rates for public holidays – a requirement that you must be paid at least time and a half if you work public holidays
  • Protection in restructures – for most industries, a clause stating how you’ll be protected if your employer’s business is restructured. This doesn’t apply to industries like cleaning and catering services where workers have special legal protections because they’re particularly vulnerable to restructuring (see “Migrants and other vulnerable workers” in this chapter).

An individual agreement can’t include any terms that are contrary to the law or inconsistent with the Employment Relations Act (unless they’re better for the employee).

If your employer breaches any of those requirements for your individual agreement, you (or a labour inspector) can ask the Employment Relations Authority to order your employer to pay a monetary penalty.

Note: The law provides you with some minimum rights and conditions of work in key areas such as your holiday and pay, and these are part of your employment relationship even if they’re not written into your agreement (see the chapter “Employment conditions and protections”). Employers and unions can’t agree take away any of these entitlements – they can, however, agree to better terms.

Next Section | Fixed-term agreements

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Starting and leaving a job

Where to go for more support

Community Law


Your local Community Law Centre can provide free initial legal information, advice and education about employment law issues.

Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment


The Employment website of the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment publishes a range of publications on employment relations and minimum rights at work.

Free phone: 0800 20 90 20, for general enquiries about employment relations, pay and holidays.

For translated employment information go to www.employment.govt.nz/starting-employment/rights-and-responsibilities/minimum-rights-of-employees-translations/#minimum

Reporting migrant exploitation


Make a complaint to the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment about migrant exploitation with this online form.

If you need help completing the form or would like to speak to an interpreter, call 0800 200 088 between 8:00am – 5:30pm, Monday to Friday. You will be connected with an interpreter after you say the name of the language you speak.

New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, Te Kauae Kaimahi


Phone: (04) 385 1334
Email: info@nzctu.org.nz

The NZCTU is the umbrella body for affiliated unions covering every job and industry in New Zealand. It can provide information about which union may cover the type of work you do.

New Zealand Prostitutes Collective


A nationwide organisation run by sex workers for sex workers. They provide information and services for people who are doing sex work or thinking about doing sex work.

Phone (04) 382 8791
Mobile and media inquiries: 027 496 0700
Email: info@nzpc.org.nz

Migrant worker organisations

Union Network of Migrants – UNEMIG


Part of FIRST Union

Phone: 0800 863477

Migrant Workers Association


Email: help@migrantworkers.org.nz

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