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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 –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.
  • 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”).

An individual agreement can’t give you worse conditions than the minimum employment rights set out in law. For example, an employment agreement can’t take away your rights to minimum breaks. Even if you sign an agreement that says this, it isn’t valid.

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

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Starting and leaving a job

Where to go for more support

Community Law

Your local Community Law Centre can provide you with free initial legal advice.

Find your local Community Law Centre online: www.communitylaw.org.nz/our-law-centres

Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment

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

Website: www.employment.govt.nz
Phone: 0800 20 90 20
Starting a job: www.employment.govt.nz/starting-employment/
Leaving a job: www.employment.govt.nz/ending-employment/

Te Kauae Kaimahi/
New Zealand Council of Trade Unions

Te Kauae Kaimahi 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.

Website: www.union.org.nz
Email: info@nzpc.org.nz
Phone: (04) 385 1334

New Zealand Prostitutes Collective

The New Zealand Prostitutes Collective is 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.

Website: www.nzpc.org.nz
Email: info@nzpc.org.nz
Phone: 04 382 8791
Instagram: www.instagram.com/_nzpc/

Union Network of Migrants (UNEMIG)

UNEMIG or Union Network of Migrants is an association of migrant workers within FIRST Union.

Website: www.unemig.org.nz
Email: unemig@firstunion.org.nz 
Phone: 0800 863 477

Migrant Workers Association

The Migrant Workers Association NZ fights for migrant workers’ rights and against injustice and exploitation in the workplace.

Website: migrantworkers.org.nz
Email: help@migrantworkers.org.nz
Phone: 0800 863 477
Facebook: www.facebook.com/migrantworkersassociationaotearoa/

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