News and updates from the team

Immigration Changes - removal of the 90 day trial period as an option for AEWV holders

Immigration New Zealand has recently announced changes to the employer job check process to protect migrant workers.

As of the end of October, Job Check applications will automatically be declined if they include a trial period clause, regardless of when they are submitted. This means that if a Job Check application that is submitted now doesn’t get processed until the end of October, it will still be declined if it includes a trial period. See here for more information: Government announces more support for migrants who have been exploited | Immigration New Zealand

What does this mean for employers?

The 90 day trial period made provisions for employers to terminate employment without the employee being able to bring a personal grievance about their dismissal (although they could still bring a personal grievance on other grounds such as discrimination or unjustifiable disadvantage). Some employers may be concerned as to how they now mitigate the risk of a new employee not meeting their expectations.

This further cements the need for undertaking proper due diligence on prospective employees and ensuring that you set clear expectations including behaviours, role and culture at the beginning of the process with clear written guidelines to manage against in the event that things don’t work out.

Pre Employment Screening

Pre employment screening must be role appropriate, but at the very least it should include:

  • Photo ID sighting

  • Google check of the employees name and any other previous names they are known by

  • Interview questions and techniques that are tailored to getting the most important information from your candidate

  • Reference checks (ideally the current and previous employers) – make sure you check that the contact details are legitimate

Screening such as credit checks, drug and alcohol and medical checks, criminal history etc. may also be appropriate. Aptitude tests, personality profiling, CV checks, etc. are also a great way of assessing a candidates suitability for a role. Remember that any check that you undertake has to be appropriate to the type of work being undertaken!

Clear Expectations

Open communication from the start paves the way for a good relationship with your new employee. Employment agreements, employee handbooks, job descriptions, policies and induction plans and checklists all provide the opportunity to set the tone and a clear framework for management if things don’t quite pan out as expected.


People Plus can provide advice and tailored packages to help you to make the right recruitment decisions and reduce the likelihood of expensive processes further down the track. We can help you with employer accreditation, job checks and work visas, as well as putting the right HR infrastructure in place, to help if things don’t go according to plan.

Please feel free to reach out to the immigration team at for further insight into these changes or email for HR and recruitment help.

New timeframe for raising a Personal Grievance for Sexual Harassment 

The Employment Relations (Extended Time for Personal Grievance for Sexual Harassment) Amendment Act came into effect on 13 June 2023. This Act has received its Royal Assent extremely quickly, after only passing in Parliament last week. 

Employees now have 12 months (opposed to 90 days) to raise a Personal Grievance relating to sexual harassment. This is extremely important as it effects a mandatory clause in all employment agreements that will need to be updated for all future employment agreements.

What this means for your business? 
Action to be taken immediately -

  1. If you have one of our employment agreement templates - you will need to update the final clause of your template "Resolving Employment Relationship Problems". Get in touch with us to get this updated clause. 

  2. If you have a different employment agreement - you will need to find and edit the clause that explains how to resolve employment relationship problems. Get in touch with us to review and update your clause

  3. We also recommend informing all your current employees of this change. 

These changes need to be made immediately, as any employment agreement that is provided to employees from 13 June 2023 onwards MUST include this update. Employers could receive a penalty if employment agreements are not updated and it may negatively effect employees if they do not raise a grievance within the timeframe, providing them with a defense for the issue. 

Contact for more information

Laura - our resident Private Investigator 

We are excited to announce that Laura is our newly Licensed Private Investigator.

If you are wondering why this is important, under employment law, employment investigations can be managed in-house or by an external party. However, the external party needs to be licensed under the Private Security Personnel and Private Investigators Act 2010. 

Therefore, if you are thinking you might have the need for an external investigator, we can help! External investigators are recommended for situations such as:

  • difficult or complex issues - eg fraud or drugs allegations

  • risk of a toxic work environment - eg bully allegations

  • sensitive allegations - eg harassment allegations

  • questions of credibility - eg allegation of inappropriate behaviour is made by a customer or against a person in a high position (want to reduce the risk of the investigation being perceived as bias)

  • an organisation-wide issue - eg there is money missing but no particular person/s identified 

Having an external investigator can work to ensure that you feel completely confident in the process and ensuring the investigation process is handled correctly.

Get in touch to find out more! 

Wages and Salaries in 2023

Wages and salary are a hot topic at the moment. We have just seen the minimum and median wages increase and the living wage will increase on 1 September 2023. With these increases, other employees start to consider what they get paid (is it fair that they don't get a pay rise?) and employers have to start balancing the cost of wages with profit and employee value. 

So, what does this mean? 

  •  23 February 2023 - the Median Wage increased to $29.66 per hour - the median wage is applicable to multiple Visa types if you are looking to hire migrant workers (some exemptions do apply - get in contact to find out more)

  • 1 April 2023 - the three Minimum Wages increased by 7.2% in alignment with inflation, bringing the general minimum wage to $22.70 per hour.

  • 1 September 2023 - the Living Wage will increase 9.9% to $26.00 per hour. 

With these increases we start to wage and salary "bunching" whereby the lower waged earners are catching the higher paid earners. It becomes a fine line for businesses who have to balance the cost, value of their employees and ensuring they are paying a competitive market rate.  

What can you do?

  • Take stock of what your employees get paid

  • Evaluate whether you have quantitative measures in place that determines how you pay your employees. Ie - what is their pay rate based on? Performance, skill, qualifications, experience, attendance, market rates, legal requirements, attitude

  • If you don't measure how you pay your employees, consider whether it is time to put these in place to ensure fair pay across your business 

  • Chat with us about how we can help you review your wages and salaries 

Fair Pay, Salary Transparency and Pay Equity 

Paying your employees fair remuneration is something to strive for and this brings us to the topics of salary transparency and pay inequity. There are extremely hot topics as we see countries bring in legislation around them. 

Salary transparency is where it is a legal requirement to disclose the salary of a vacancy on the job advert and pay equity is ensuring women and men are paid the same for doing different jobs that are of equal value. 

Ask yourself, would you be happy to post the wages/salary on a job advert?

If you are willing to pay someone new more than what you pay current and performing employees, something is a little amiss. Immigration NZ also require the salary/wage range to be on job adverts that are submitted in Visa applications, which is important to consider if you are looking to hire migrant workers. 

Take these legal wage increases as a time to review all your employee wages/salaries:

  • Are they still fair and fit for purpose?

  • Are there any discrepancies between gender and/or ethnicity?

  • Would you be happy to disclose the salary on your job advert? If not, why not? Is your answer that of a fair and reasonable employer? 

  • How do your wages/salaries fit with the median wage?

  • Are you looking to hire migrant workers?

Immigration Update

Important Immigration announcements were made on 15 July 2021 which are important if your business hires migrants workers, you can read the full announcement here, a summary of the important points are as follows:

  • The median pay rate for essential skills work visas increases to $27 per hour from Monday 19th July, the maximum duration for applications for jobs paid below the median wage will increase from 6 months to 24 months.
  • Employers won’t be required to complete a labour market test where a worker is applying for a visa for a full-time role which the worker already holds. These applicants also won’t need to provide medical and police certificates to Immigration New Zealand if that information has been supplied previously.
  • The new Accredited Employer Work Visa, which was due to come into effect on 1 November, will be delayed until the middle of next year. An update will be provided as soon as an exact date is confirmed.

We are working closely with Businesses and their migrant workers to help understand the constant changes and delays to decisions by immigration, if you are uncertain please contact Jenny, our licensed Immigration Adviser 

Sick Leave Entitlement Update

The Government have provided the date for which minimum Sick Leave entitlements will increase to 10 days. The date this comes into effect is 24 July 2021. 

How this looks for business:

  • Employees will be entitled to 10 days Sick Leave at their next sick leave anniversary date following 24 July.
  • Someone who’s anniversary who is 23 July 2021 would not be entitled to the 10 days until 23 July 2022 (though nothing stops employers from providing more than their minimum legislative requirements)
  • Someone who’s entitlement date is 11 September and they currently have 3 days sick leave will then be entitled to their additional 10 days giving them 13 days sick leave on 11 September
  • The legal minimum of carry over sick leave remains at 20 days 

Employment Agreements:

  • If your current employment agreement states that employees are entitled to 5 days – legislation trumps agreements and you will not need to do a variation to the contract. To let staff know you could send out an email or company memo/newsletter/poster.
  • It is a timely reminder to review your Employment Agreements and make sure they comply with legislation (not just leave) and if there are any clauses that may need to be added, re-worded or removed to meet your current and future business needs

What we recommend:

  • Contact the People Plus team if you would like to talk about your Employment Agreements or for us to conduct a review
  • Contact your payroll provider and see if they will be managing the Sick Leave change in the system or if you need to do this at your end  
  • Think about how you will communicate with employees if they ask about their new sick leave entitlements

We are always here! So, if you have any questions, just give us a call and we will be happy to help 😊.