Rights and responsibilities at work
All workers have the right to be treated fairly and with respect. Employers are responsible for making sure the workplace is safe, and that reasonable accommodations are made to meet the individual needs of workers.
Employers also have to act within the law, and provide things like holiday, sickness and bereavement leave and meal or rest breaks.
Workers have responsibilities too. An employee’s rights and responsibilities will be written down in an employment agreement. Everyone should have a written employment agreement and it’s important to understand what’s in it. Workers should be given a copy to read and keep, and to be given time to allow someone else to read it as well, like a friend or family member, or a lawyer or other advocate.
Employment New Zealand provides information about the rights and entitlements of employees.
People First New Zealand is a self-advocacy organisation that is led and directed by people with learning/intellectual disabilities. People First have created easy-read information about rights and responsibilities for employees, including an easy-read individual employment agreement to print and use.
The Your rights at work booklet from People First also includes information about pay and the minimum wage exemption – this is where an employer pays less than the minimum wage. An employer can only pay less than minimum wage if the employee agrees, and only if the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment approves. You can learn more about the minimum wage exemption at Employment New Zealand, and find out about other resources and support for disabled workers.
Employment agreements should also outline what to do if an employee is experiencing problems or feels they’re not being treated fairly at work. Employment New Zealand can provide information about employee rights and what to do if an employer has breached them. Contact them on 0800 20 90 20, or take a look at our page on advocacy and legal support to find places you can get further advice.