Employment Agreements - the basics

You should give your employee three documents before they start a job with you.

  1. Employment agreement
  2. Job offer
  3. Job description

By law the employment agreement is the only mandatory document that an employer must supply an employee. An employer should also supply a job offer and a job description, as it is good practice, helping enable a positive working relationship.

Employment agreement - this is a legal contract between you and your employee that contains the terms and conditions of their employment
Job offer - is a letter formally offering your employee the job and is usually accompanied by an unsigned copy of an employment agreement
Job description - is a document that explains the key tasks, duties and responsibilities of the job in detail

Your employee is entitled to negotiate other terms and conditions over and above their minimum rights, which once agreed by both parties,  should be noted in their employment agreement. 

By law your employee has minimum employment rights that can't be taken away from them. From their first day of employment they are entitled to:

  • Public holidays
  • Public holiday pay
  • Rest and meal breaks
  • Minimum wage
  • Overtime
  • Payment of wages
  • Unpaid leave jury service
  • Family violence (short term work variations)

After 6 months of continuous service your employee is entitled to:

  • Sick leave
  • Bereavement leave
  • Family Violence leave
  • Parental leave

After 12 months of continuous service your employee is entitled to:

  • Annual leave
  • Parental leave

If you are a member of the NZDA , you will have access to up-to-date employment agreements for both individuals and independent contractors.

This article is designed to provide a brief overview and is a guide only. You are encouraged to familiarise yourself with the relevant NZ laws. More information can be found at: https://www.employment.govt.nz/


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