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Fixing Work Problems

Fixing Work Problems

Sometimes it can be difficult to tackle employment problems and you may be afraid of losing your job in the process.

This section gives you some basic information about what is expected when you have employment problems and wish to take steps to fix it.

I’m having problems at work, what can I do?

All employment agreements must include an employment disputes procedure if you run into problems at work. If there is no procedure or if the procedure would disadvantage you, you’ll need to follow the procedure set out in law:

Tell your employer that you have a dispute, what you’re disputing, why, and the solution you would like. Support this with evidence if possible. You can do this verbally or in writing.

You and your employer should meet to discuss the dispute. If you and your employer can’t agree on a solution and you’re not satisfied with your employer’s response, you can consider writing a personal grievance to your employer within 90 days of the incident you’re complaining about.

What is mediation?

The MBIE (Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment) is a department of government that makes sure employment rights are provided for to New Zealanders.

The Mediation Services runs mediation meetings where you and your employer are able to sit down with an independent mediator (provided free of charge) to try and reach a solution regarding your dispute. Please note that there is a slight waiting time to gain access to these services. Also, both you and your employer must agree to mediation for mediation to happen.

What happens if my employer owes me money?

Your employer should keep a record of the wages paid to you, and you’re entitled to see this or get a copy of it.

If your employer owes you money for wages or unpaid holiday pay, you should first talk to the employer and request to be paid. If the employer fails to pay you within a reasonable timeframe, you could make a complaint to the Labour Inspector if any of your minimum rights are breached, e.g. minimum wage, holiday pay.

If this fails, you can try mediation or apply to the Employment Relations Authority for an order to make them pay you.

What is the Employment Relations Authority?

You can consider going to the ERA if you didn’t find the mediation results satisfactory. The ERA is more like a tribunal or a court. There both you and your employer will both get a chance to present your sides of the problem. The ERA Tribunal members (like a Judge) will then make a decision about how the situation should be resolved. Before you decide to take your case to the ERA, know that there are certain risks to taking your case to the ERA.

Where can I get help on my employment issue?

If your company has a union, your union representative should also be able to assist you.
If you would like to talk to us to get the legal advice and/or representation, please contact us at YouthLaw or your local Community Law Centre.

Up-to-date and detailed information regarding the employment issues can be found on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (the former Department of Labour) website.


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