If you are new to New Zealand it’s essential that you are aware of minimum employment rights and obligations in this country. This applies to both employees and employers.

Every employer who exploits migrants can be imprisoned and/or fined up to $100,000. Plus, there are a range of other penalties and remedies available.

By New Zealand law all employees in this country have minimum employment rights that can’t be taken away from you.

Luciane Bryant, Information and Education Manager, Employment New Zealand MBIE  says,

 “There is a lot of information to be aware of and we make it easy by providing Employment New Zealand resources via our website, publications and phone line.

So there’s no practical reason why you shouldn’t know this vital information.

 It’s all there for you to use free of charge.

We have provided 20 key points you should know just as a starting point”

Here are 20 minimum rights for employees everyone should know - it’s important you know your rights!

  1. You must be given a written employment agreement (contract).
  2. You have the right to get advice or support from someone you trust before you sign the agreement.
  3. You must be paid at least the minimum wage if you are 16 years or older.
  4. You are entitled to breaks, for example, two suitable paid rest breaks and one unpaid meal break when you work more than 8 hours in one day.
  5. You are entitled to 11 public holidays off work on pay if they are days you would normally work.
  6. If you work on a public holiday that is a normal working day then you are entitled to 1.5 times your normal pay rate and also another day off.
  7. You are entitled to 5 paid sick leave days, and 3 days bereavement leave for the death of an immediate family member after 6 months employment.
  8. You are entitled to 4 weeks paid annual holiday per year after 12 months employment.
  9. You are entitled to parental leave up to 12 months and to payments to care for a new baby if you meet the rules that apply.
  10. You must not have deductions taken out of your pay without your consent, excluding the ones advised by law.
  11. It is illegal for your employer to ask you to pay them for providing you with your job
  12. It is illegal for your employer to make you keep your passport with them.
  13. You and your employer must be fair to each other by dealing in good faith, that means being open, honest and responsive towards each other.
  14. You have the right to ask your employer for details of your time worked, leave and holiday entitlements.
  15. You have the right to be treated fairly if you lose your job through being fired or made redundant.
  16. You have the right to be protected from unlawful discrimination based on your age, ethnicity, sex or religious beliefs.
  17. You are entitled to work in a safe workplace with proper training, supervision and equipment.
  18. It’s illegal for an employer to charge an employee for a job.
  19. It’s illegal for employers to take money back from wages for a job.
  20. It’s illegal for an employee not to pay an employee at least the minimum wage for all hours worked.

These are just some and not all the rights that employees have. All such rights are obligations for employers.

So, know your employment rights and obligations – don’t get caught out! Remember to contact Employment New Zealand for information and help.

  • Visit:  www.employment.govt.nz and enter keywords “Rights and Responsibilities” (This includes resources in Hindi and Punjabi languages).
  • Phone: 0800 20 90 20 toll-free for employment information and translation service on request. (This includes Hindi and Punjabi languages).