PLEASE NOTE: This article was published on the date listed below and may now contain information that has since been updated or changed. We have retained this article as it may still contain helpful comments. However, we advise you to make an appointment to see us for the most up to date information on this topic.

March 2004

Employment Health Check

The legislative changes flowing from the government’s employment law reform package should encourage employers to undertake a regular employment “health check”, not just to review the areas in which changes are to be made, but also to undertake a more general review of existing employment-related policies and procedures to ensure they are up to date and appropriate.

An employment-related “health check” should address at least the following areas:

Pre-employment Procedures

  • Are reference checks undertaken? If so, do you obtain the consent of employees to obtain (and give) references?
  • Are interviewers of job applicants fully aware of the requirements of the Human Rights Act, which deals with discrimination?
  • Are successful applicants to be employed on an individual employment agreement given a copy of the proposed employment agreement and advised that they are entitled to obtain independent advice about the agreement and given a reasonable opportunity to do so?

Contractual Arrangements 

  • Are all employees’ terms of employment set out in a written employment agreement?
  • Does the written employment agreement comply with the requirements of the Employment Relations Act? An individual employment agreement must include: 

i. The names of the employee and employer.
ii. A description of the work to be performed.
iii. An indication of the place at which the work is to be performed.
iv. An indication of the hours of work.
v. The remuneration payable to the employee.
vi. A plain language explanation of the services available for the resolution of employment relationship problems including a reference to the 90-day period in which a personal grievance must be submitted.

  • Are the terms of the employment agreement otherwise appropriate? For example, issues of confidentiality and restraints of trade may need to be considered.

Record Keeping

  • Do you keep an accurate wages book and holiday book that complies with the requirements of the Holidays Act? Not only are these legal requirements, they may be useful in the event of any dispute.
  • Do you keep a personal file for each employee? If so, are you complying with the Privacy Act?

Health and Safety

  • Do you have in place policies and procedures that comply with the Health and Safety in Employment Act?
  • Are employees aware of your policies and procedures in relation to workplace safety?
  • Do you keep an accident register?

Disciplinary Procedures

  • Do you have in place standard procedures for dealing with disciplinary issues?
  • Are staff dealing with disciplinary issues fully aware of those policies and procedures?

The above are just some of the many issues that do arise in the employment setting and in respect of which employers need to ensure that their policies, procedures and documentation are up to date and comply with the relevant legislation. We can provide you with a full review service to meet your particular business needs.