What changes from 1 April 2016?
The minimum wage will increase to $15.25. Training and starting out minimum wages will increase to $12.20 per hour.
Paid parental leave
From 1 April 2016, there are further changes to paid parental leave. The amount of paid parental leave that eligible people can take will be extended from 16 weeks to 18 weeks.
Parental leave payments will also apply to more workers. Eligibility will be extended to people in less-regular jobs, in particular to people who have recently changed jobs, seasonal and casual workers, and workers with more than one employer. 'Home for Life' caregivers and people with similar permanent care arrangements will also be eligible.
From April, employers, earners, and motor vehicle owners no longer have to pay residual ACC levies. However it won’t mean reductions across the board.
The residual levy rate calculation was based on old injury rates which have become out-dated, going back 10 years or more. The residual levies themselves were a kind of catch up to make sure there were enough funds set aside to pay for on-going claims predating 1999.
Now, all businesses will have their levies calculated on the most recent data around injuries and the likelihood of injury in their particular industries. Hence, while most will pay less, some will pay more. The removal of residual levies alone would have seen decreases in their ACC contributions for around 53 per cent of Kiwi businesses, while 47 per cent would be paying more.
However, with other levy reductions (see above), the number of businesses paying more may come down to around 21 per cent. We’ll keep you updated.
Zero hours contracts and other restrictions:
Employers won’t be able to:
- expect employees to be available to work without guaranteeing hours or paying reasonable compensation
- cancel a shift without giving employees reasonable notice and reasonable compensation, both of which must be set out in an employment agreement
- make unreasonable deductions from wages
- unreasonably restrict an employee’s secondary employment
Enforcing minimum employment standards: Focused on ensuring employers pay at least minimum wage and give employees their proper holiday entitlements. Enforcement measures include a new infringement notice regime, clearer record-keeping requirements, and tougher sanctions for serious breaches such as exploitation.
Check employment records are comprehensive and employment agreements comply with the standards.
Super, pensions and benefits
Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension rates increase on 1 April 2016. The rates (before tax) for a married couple will be $671.48, $443.43 a week for a single person living alone and $407.53 for a single person sharing accommodation.
Benefits for main beneficiaries and rates for student allowance recipients with dependent children will increase by $25 a week after tax.
Working for Families rates will increase for low income working families by up to $12.50 and $24.50 for very low income working families.
Health and safety
Changes to health and safety laws take effect from 4 April 2016. The new law says you need to take reasonably practical steps to manage any critical risks – those that could cause illness or injury serious enough to keep someone off work. Have you assessed how the new laws affect your business and implemented anything you need to? If not, contact us for more information on the rules.