A: Advice on recruitment can be found here.
A: Yes. The employment agreements include provision for a Probationary period which will apply to all new appointments. When submitting the approval to appoint form, indicate if you do not wish this to apply. Trial periods pursuant to s.67A of the Employment Relations Act may be agreed and negotiated prior to appointment. If you wish to include a Trial Period, please contact the HR manager.
A: All employees are covered by our Employee Handbook and their Letter of Appointment
Part-time, Casual and Fixed Term employment
A: Permanent Part-time employment is where an employee regularly works less than full time hours, e.g. 20 per week. The Letter of Appointment will set out the usual agreed hours but where required the employee may agree to work more than these hours from time to time. The relationship is ongoing and all entitlements are applied on a pro rata basis.
A: A casual employee is engaged on an intermittent or “as and when and required” basis. We have a particular Letter of Appointment for these cases. They are not permanent employees and therefore should not be engaged for regular hours. You should make it clear to a casual employee that there is no guarantee of ongoing employment after each period of employment. Where a casual employee works regular hours on an ongoing basis, this can lead to a claim that they are in fact permanent employee’s. in this instance we would be required to provide benefits to them.
A: A fixed term employee is engaged for a fixed period of time. We have a particular Letter of Appointment for these cases. Employment legislation requires that there must be a genuine reason as to why employment is for that fixed period of time. Examples of reasons for fixed term employment are:
- To cover for an employee on an extended period of leave, such as parental leave;
- To provide project support or to work on a specific piece of work for a specified period of time; or
- To provide additional resource for an event or initiate that is a ‘one-off’.
A fixed-term employee may have either part time or full time work patterns.
A: If an employee wants to reduce their hours, they will need to confirm their request in writing. The manager will then need to consider if this can be arranged or accommodated and refer this to their manager for the appropriate approval. A new Letter of Appointment should be created and signed by both parties to record the change.
A: If an employee wants to increase their hours, then the manager must consider the request and if they agree to it, seek approval from their manager before changing the employee’s status.
Health and Safety
A: Click here for information on Health and Safety and your responsibilities as a manager.
A: If an employee has personal problems, including outside work issues that are causing them concern, the Company may refer them to specialist assistance such as Counselling. A manager who wishes to refer an employee to AP should discuss this with their Manager or HR in the first instance. A decision as to if AP services will be paid by us will made on a case by case basis having regard to the particular issues and situation of the employee.
A: Managers are responsible for knowing when the work visa of one of their direct reports is due to expire. A manager’s responsibility is to follow up with their employee about the status of their visa and to remind them that they need to undertake the immigration process to extend their legal entitlement to work here. If the individual does not have a valid visa that entitles them to work, then they cannot continue to work past the expiry date. It is the staff member’s responsibility to apply for a new or renewed visa. Because immigration processes can take some time, it is important that sufficient time be allowed for this.
A: We have a number of people related polices. These can be accessed here.
A: Refer to the Absenteeism policy . If an employee is late for work on more than one occasion, regularly or is a no show, talk to them when they next come to work so you gain an understanding of the reasons for them being absent/ late. In the first instance you should explain your expectations regarding attendance and the implications for the business when they are late or do not show up for work. You should also identify the potential outcomes for the individual if they continue to be late or are regularly away from work without a reasonable explanation. If attendance continues to a problem without a good explanation or if there is a regular pattern of non attendance, this becomes a performance issue. Initially try our ‘Getting Performance Back On Track’ conversation but if things don’t turn around quickly move on to taking disciplinary action.
A: Information on managing sickness absence is available here.
A: We have a Policy on how to handle cases of potential abandonment. It requires a minimum absence of three days and that we make efforts to contact the employee before determining they have abandoned their employment.
A: As a manager you should initiate this using the abandonment letter template. You should check the draft with your manager before you send it. Document the efforts you made to contact them.
A: The complaint should be in writing. As a manager you should then investigate the substance of the complaint and determine next steps. Depending on the circumstances it may be that setting expectations , getting performance back on-track or a disciplinary process are warranted. Alternatively you may determine that there is no substance to the complaint. It is important to remember that during a disciplinary process the employee who was the subject of the complaint has the right (and we are required) to provide them with a copy of the complaint.
A: Our disciplinary policy outlines some of the behaviours that we consider to constitute misconduct (minor breaches that may warrant disciplinary action) or serious misconduct (misconduct so serious as to justify dismissal without notice).
- Its all set out in our disciplinary process. If you are satisfied that there is a disciplinary case to answer, complete the template letter inviting the individual to the disciplinary meeting. Ensure that your specific concerns and the arrangements for the meeting are detailed and that any evidence you have (eg statements/leave records) is provided.
- The draft letter should then be reviewed by your manager before you use it.
- You need to ensure that you issue the letter to the staff member at least 24 hours before the scheduled meeting time. When issuing the letter, you should give the staff member a brief overview of what is in the letter – but don’t get drawn into a conversation where the individual starts responding to the allegations – this should be done in the meeting itself.
A: Read the “getting performance or behaviour back on track” section for information.
A: Read the “Disciplinary Action” section for information.
A: Advice on suspension (when this is may be appropriate and the process to follow) is available here.
A: Our position on the use of alcohol, drugs and other substances is outlined in its policy. If you have good reason to believe that the individual has reported for work under the influence of alcohol or drugs, then follow our process flowchart for dealing with people unfit for work. If you feel that the individual is not fit to safely and effectively perform their duties then they should be sent home. Disciplinary action may then follow. In this instance follow the advice on stand-down.
Termination of Employment
A: If a staff member resigns, ensure that they have given you a written resignation letter that confirms their last day of employment. This resignation letter must be sent to the Payroll Administrator.
A: If you have any concerns that the staff member has resigned in the “heat of the moment” (eg in a situation where they are upset) ensure that they have a cooling down period so that they can consider if they do in fact want to resign and contact your Manager before you proceed further.
A: There is no legal requirement on us to provide an employee or ex-employee with a reference, whether written or verbal. There are, as described below, legal risks for us in providing references. Our practice is not to provide written employment references from the company but a manager may wish to provide a verbal reference. Weigh up these risks and follow the tips below if you are asked for a reference.
- The employee must authorise any reference: The Privacy Act 1993 Principles specify that you cannot disclose personal information on an employee or ex-employee to anyone else without the authorisation of the employee concerned.
- Your reference can give rise to a defamation action: Case law makes it clear that we (or anyone representing the employer) have a duty of care to provide information on employees that is both fair and accurate. To criticise someone unreasonably and without basis is defamatory.
- Given these risks you may decide not to give a verbal reference when asked by the employee. A safe alternative, if an employee asks for a reference, is to arrange a certificate of service The Certificate of Service provides a statement stating; how long the person was employed (start and end dates), the role(s) they had and the duties they performed. If a prospective employer calls to ask for more information you are, of course, entitled to decline.
Tips for giving a verbal reference
- Don’t provide a reference until you hold a copy of the employee’s authorisation for that person to seek that reference.
- Do check first with the employee or ex-employee on each occasion a reference is sought before disclosing any information.
- Do ensure that the content of any reference is factual and accurate and limit information given answering the question being asked (don’t volunteer unsolicited opinions or information that is not asked for).
- Do ensure the identity of the caller (if in doubt, take the person’s name/phone number and arrange to return their call later – this enables a check to be made).
Terms and Conditions of Employment
A: Once the request has been received, it needs to go through a review and approval process – first to your manager and then to HR. We must deal with a request as soon as possible and in any event no later than three months after it has been received. This is designed so that we have sufficient time to assess the impact of the request on the business. The MoBI website has detailed information on how to handle these cases including the grounds on which you can decline an application and template letters to use to communicate your decision.
A: The payroll administrator is able to provide this information to managers.
A: The Jury Service policy outlines our policy in relation to Jury Service.
A: If your staff member is called for Jury Service and they want to attend or have not been granted an exemption from doing do, then you must approve this. A leave application form must be completed by the staff member for the days that they would otherwise be working. This needs to be signed by the manager and then forwarded to payroll.
A: Your staff member may wish to apply for an exemption from Jury Service because they believe they are unable to attend because of their job and the nature of our business. If you agree, then you may provide a letter supporting their request.
A: Employees may request to cash out up to a maximum of one weeks annual leave in each entitlement year. Entitlement year means a period of 12 months continuous employment beginning at the anniversary of the individual’s employment.
A: Employees may only apply to cash up annual leave that they became entitled to from 1 April 2011. Any leave accumulated from previous years may not be cashed out.
A: Annual leave cash requests will only be approved in a block of one week ie: one cash up per year of entitlement may be requested. The request to cash up annual leave may be declined at our discretion.
A: The employee must submit their request in writing by completing a leave application form.
A: An annual leave balance of over 4 weeks or 20 days (whichever is greater) is considered excessive.
A: As a manager, one of your responsibilities is to manage leave balances to an acceptable level. We need to ensure that our people maintain a healthy work-life balance and take their allocated leave each year. The effective management of excessive balances also reduces the cost liability on the business.
A: If an employee’s leave balance is more than 20 days at any time it is your responsibility as a manager to talk to them and mutually agree when that portion of their leave should be taken. To that end, you should ask those team members with excessive leave to submit their preferred holiday dates. Wherever possible the aim should be to reach a mutually acceptable arrangement for the taking of annual leave. However, failing that (and after seeking your department manager’s sign-off) you can stipulate, with a minimum of 14 days notice, when the leave needs to be taken. Your manager or HR can provide advice on this process and individual circumstances.
A: The Employment Relations act provides that union members can receive paid employment relations education leave (RL). A union can allocate a certain amount of RL to its members. The employee must provide us at least ten working days notice before taking the leave. As a manager you can only refuse to let the employee take leave if taking the leave would unreasonably disrupt the business.
A: Yes. If an employee is away for a period shorter than three consecutive calendar days (that includes weekend days whether worked or not) we may require them to bring a medical certificate. We will pay reasonable costs for their getting the certificate. Employees may also be required to submit to a medical examination to ensure there are no relevant health and safety reasons that would prevent them from working to full capacity. Typically if you plan to request a medical certificate for absence of less than three days you should have reasonable cause to believe that the staff member is not genuinely sick (or caring for a partner, dependent child, parent or partner’s parent who is genuinely sick). “Reasonable cause” includes but is not limited to circumstances such as where the employee shows a suspicious recurring pattern of sick leave, where the employee shows no signs of illness before the leave or they are seen out on the day of illness appearing in good health. Under prevailing legislation we are required to pay the costs of obtaining the certificate where the absence is shorter than three days.
A: The process, entitlements and managers responsibilities are outlined our Parental Leave policy
A: Click here for information on the Planning, Performance Management and Remuneration process.