Work Hours, Wages and Benefits

This is an area of well elaborated legal requirements in NZ, so ensuring that you are operating in accordance with those laws, you will have gone a long way to meeting the expectations of this policy provision. Regard must also be had to ensuring compliance for any of these provisions that are in any collective agreement you may have with your employees.

That said, human rights “respect” often goes beyond legal minimums. In this provision of the NZEE Human Rights Policy, it sets out the expectation that you pay your employees competitively compared to the industry and local labour markets. Of course, meeting the minimum wage for local workers and RSE stipulations is a must, but regard should still be had to what is going on in the labour market. Checking in with local Chambers of Commerce etc can help you better understand local conditions. Likewise, and the local employment offices also can provide you with information to pitch your wages where they need to be to attract and retain workers.

The policy also recognises the importance of your own company performance and individual worker productivity. Always think about how you can equitably assess worker productivity and avoid both conscious and unconscious bias in how you reward your people. Workers will discuss their pay with each other, they will themselves assess whether you are being fair to all or only favouring a few. Similarly, workers will have a pretty good idea of how the business is performing. Sharing regular updates with workers is an important way to both explain financial decisions the company makes and helps set reasonable expectations amongst the work force.

Work life balance is proving to be an important means of attracting and retaining workers. We all have a life outside of work and as an employer you need to be open to accommodating that where you can. Be clear with your people about what the work can entail, particularly at peak periods or to cope with weather related events, i.e. those times when you need “all hands on deck” and accommodations’ can’t be made

Businesses and workers both benefit from training that enhances skills and allows workers to take on more complex and productive work. Employers should encourage workers to take advantage of the training provided but employers should also explore how working with other businesses could enhance the training offered by giving workers access to skills you currently don’t train in, but which can better equip them and the business for the future. Given a lot of common jobs in the industry, a lot can be gained by collaborating with other like businesses on common skills training and common skill assessment to both lower training costs and create a common skills base.

Finally, the provision addresses leave and rest. Again, New Zealand law covers most of this but often the law can be unclear. Check that what you do is compliant. Get your wages payable clerk(s) trained in the relevant wages and leave law through courses often available locally through the Employers Organisations or Chambers of Commerce.



Tūhana Business and Human Rights is NZEE’s Human Rights Foundation Partner, to help members implement the UNGP framework in their operations and help identify and prioritize the risks they pose to people through their own business operations and supply chain and develop responses that look to prevent, mitigate, or remedy human rights issues.