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Jobs, benefits & flats

Employment conditions and protections

Your minimum rights and protections at work

What this chapter covers

  • Your pay
    Minimum wage rates, overtime pay, equal pay, and when and how wages are paid
  • Hours, shifts and breaks
    Information about the standard working week, zero-hour contracts and availability (“on call”) clauses, when your shifts can be cancelled, and your rights to rest and meal breaks
  • Holidays and annual leave
    Your rights to a certain number of weeks of annual holidays (often called “annual leave”), and to public holidays like Christmas and Anzac Day (sometimes called “statutory” holidays)
  • Sick leave and other short-term leave
    Sick leave, bereavement leave and family violence leave
  • Parental leave
    The laws around different types of parental leave, how much paid parental leave you can get and how your job’s protected while you’re on leave
  • Flexible working
    The law about flexible working arrangements (including when and where you work), and special short-term flexibility for family violence victims
  • Health and safety protections
    Your employer’s legal responsibilities for health and safety in the workplace
  • Whistle-blower protections (“Protected disclosures”)
    How the law protects employees who give out information about serious wrongdoing by their employer
  • Where to go for more support
    Other information and resources


COVID-19 vaccinations and employment law

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

Next Section | Your pay

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Employment conditions and protections

Where to go for more support

Community Law


Your local Community Law Centre can provide free initial legal advice and, depending on your situation, may also be able to provide ongoing support.

“Pregnancy Rights: Your legal options during and after pregnancy” (booklet)

This booklet contains practical answers to questions about pregnancy and the law, and includes information on sexual health and consent, options after a positive pregnancy test, healthcare, education, housing and more.

Order hard copies from:

Community Law Wellington and Hutt Valley

Phone (04) 499 2928

Email: publications@wclc.org.nz or visit www.communitylaw.org.nz to buy a copy or access free online

Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment


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

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

Labour inspectors

Labour inspectors monitor and enforce minimum employment conditions. To refer a problem to a labour inspector, you contact the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment on:

Free phone 0800 20 90 20

Worksafe New Zealand, Mahi Haumaru Aotearoa


Free phone: 0800 030 040

Worksafe New Zealand’s website has a range of information and publications on workplace health and safety issues.

Parental leave payments


The Inland Revenue website has information on parental leave payments.

Whistle-blowing (“Protected disclosures” by employees)


Free phone: 0800 802 602
Email: info@ombudsman.parliament.nz

The Office of the Ombudsman provides information and guidance to employees about making a protected disclosure.

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.

Also available as a book

The Community Law Manual

The Manual contains over 1000 pages of easy-to-read legal info and comprehensive answers to common legal questions. From ACC to family law, health & disability, jobs, benefits & flats, Tāonga Māori, immigration and refugee law and much more, the Manual covers just about every area of community and personal life. It’s for people living in Aotearoa New Zealand (and their advocates) to help themselves.

Buy The Community Law Manual

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