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September 2002


Employment Relations Act 2000

A recent decision of the Employment Relations Authority is of note to employers.

The Applicant in the case sought a finding of the Authority that she was an employee and not an independent contractor. This was for the purpose of pursuing a personal grievance claim which is only available to employees.

In determining that the Applicant was an independent contractor, the Authority recognised that an employer can exercise some degree of control over a contractor’s performance without affecting the parties’ relationship status as one of employer and contractor.

Further, the Authority found that the Applicant was in business for herself and therefore was not an employee.

Individual Employment Agreements to be in Writing

Employers should note their obligations to provide written agreements for staff.

Section 65 of the Employment Relations Act 2000 provides that individual employment agreements must be in writing.

Further, Section 67 of the Act provides that where an employee is to serve a probationary or trial period, that fact must be specified in writing in the employment agreement.

In a recently decided case, the Authority ordered the employer to pay a penalty of $500.00 to the Crown in part for failure to provide an employee with a written agreement.