Your legal rights as a worker: Where they come from
Employment rights during the COVID-19 pandemic
The section in this chapter on redundancies has some information about employment rights during the COVID-19 crisis: see “Leaving or losing your job / Redundancy: When the business doesn’t need your role anymore”.
Your rights and obligations as an employee come from several different places:
- your agreement – the terms of your employment agreement (often referred to as a “contract”), which you should have in writing from your employer
- guaranteed minimum rights – the Employment Relations Act 2000 and various Acts that set out minimum conditions, such as the Minimum Wage Act and the Holidays Act – and also some basic terms and conditions that the courts see as implied in every employment agreement, regardless of what your agreement says.
What does “good faith” mean?
“Good faith” is a central part of employment law. This means employers, employees and unions must deal with each other openly, honestly and constructively.
The duty of good faith applies when unions and employers are negotiating collective agreements and when existing employees are negotiating new individual agreements. But it also applies to the ongoing relationship between employers, employees and their unions after an agreement is made.