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Your legal rights as a worker: Where they come from


COVID-19 vaccination mandates and employment law

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the New Zealand government has introduced mandatory vaccines for some workers. See the chapter “Employment conditions and protections” for information on COVID-19 vaccination mandates and employment law

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?

Employment Relations Act 2000, s 4

“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.

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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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