SSNZ Auckland Newsletter April 2011


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SSNZ Auckland Newsletter April 2011

  1. 1. Settlement Support New Zealand Auckland City – Tāmaki-makau-rau Paenga whāwhā (April) 2011/Issue 28 Haere Mai, Nau Mai, Haere Mai Kei te pēhea koutou? How are you all? Welcome to the twenty-eighth Settlement Support New Zealand—Auckland City Newsletter. The purpose of this newsletter is to provide you with information about what Settlement Support – Auckland City does, and where you can find information about employment, education, health services and many other aspects of settling in New Zealand. This is also an opportunity to share with you the services and activities available around Auckland City. Bevan Chuang, Settlement Please feel free to pass on this newsletter onto friends, family and community Support Coordinator – Auckland City colleagues.Updates from Settlement Support New Zealand – Auckland City Client and Service Providers Enquiries 177 people visited SSNZ Auckland City/ARMS Three Kings during February 2011 Of these figures, 133 were first time clients. Nearly 40% of the clients contacted SSNZ Auckland about finding employment; 10% wanted information about cultural/community and Learning English, and around 6% wanted information about Employment Rights and Daily Life. The majority of our clients in February were from China (23%), India (17%), Philippines (8%), Sri Lanka (6%) and Japan, New Zealand, and USA around 2 – 3%. Many of them have permanent residence in New Zealand, 20% were family members of skilled migrants, 21% were skilled migrants, 7% with work-to-residentspermits. 19% had work permits, 12% with student permits, 4% on visitor permits and 3% from overseas.Almost 52% of the clients had been in New Zealand less than 2 years, with 13% having been here longer than 2 years and 27%more than 5 years.There were 8 service providers to service providers’ referrals from 5 service providers, related to financial assistant,interpreters/translators, rental/temporary accommodation.Christchurch Earthquake Support in AucklandARMS have produced a special ARMS Reach updated weekly. The newsletter contains information about what other NGOs andcommunity groups are doing to support those affected by the Quake.Please check it out on the ARMS’ website CouncilThe Auckland PlanThe Auckland Plan will be a bold 30-year vision and strategy for Auckland underpinned by the Mayors vision of making it theworlds most liveable city. You can read more about it on : Annual Plan 2011 – 2012Auckland Councils Draft Annual Plan 2011/2012 is now available for public feedback. It sets out the councils plans for the year 1July 2011 to 30 June 2012. This year provides an update to the plans and budget for 2011/2012 contained in the council’s Long-term Plan 2010/2019 which consolidated the plans and financial projections of the previous councils. Visit: Peoples Advisory Panel and Ethnic Peoples Advisory PanelThe Panels have been established. You can read meeting agendas, minutes and attachments on: can contact the Auckland Council on (09) 301 0101 or visit for more.
  2. 2. UpdatesKey changes to the Employment Relations Act 2000 and the Holidays Act 2003Most changes to the Employment Relations Act 2000 and the Holidays Act 2003 come into effect on 1 April 2011.Below are some of the key changes that may impact on your business.Employment Relations Act 2000  90 day trial periods are extended to all employers. Only new employees can be put on a trial period and it must be agreed in writing in the employment agreement before the employee begins work. If an employee is dismissed within the trial period, notice must be given during the 90 days  Changes to the test of justification used by the Authority or the court to determine if a dismissal or employers action was unjustified  Mediators and the Employment Relations Authority can make recommendations on resolving a problem. Re-instatement for an unjustified dismissal is no longer the primary remedy  Employer consent will be required to be given before a union can access a workplace, and employers can communicate with employees during collective bargaining  From 1 July 2011, employers must retain signed copies of individual employment agreements or the current terms and conditions of employment that make up the employee’s individual terms and conditions of employment. Employees are entitled to ask for a copy of their individual employment agreement. Holidays Act 2003  Employees may cash up a maximum of one of their four weeks of annual leave with their employer’s agreement. This provision commences on 1 April 2011, and may only be used for leave that the employee has become entitled to after 1 April 2011  Employers may agree with employees to transfer a public holiday so that it is observed on another working day  There is a new calculation called “average daily pay” that may be used if it is not possible or practicable to work out relevant daily pay, or where an employee’s daily pay varies in the relevant pay period  Employers will be able to require an employee to provide proof of sickness or injury within the first three consecutive calendar days of taking sick leave, if they inform the employee as early as possible that proof is required, and agree to meet the reasonable expenses of obtaining the proof. Along with the Employment Relations and Holidays Acts changing the minimum wage is going up. From 1 April 2011, the adult minimum wage will increase to $13.00 an hour. The new entrants’ minimum wage and the training minimum wage will increase to $10.40 an hour. Find out more on:
  3. 3. Here is an overview of the key changes to the Employment Relations Act 2000: Previous law What’s changed Extending trial periods to all employers Only employers with 19 or fewer employees were able to All employers can now offer new employees a offer new employees a trial period of up to 90 days. trial period of up to 90 days. The previous requirements placed on the employer still apply. Employer MUST retain copies of Previously employers were not required to keep copies of 1) Employers must now retain copies of intended individual employment agreements their employees’ individual employment agreements, or current individual employment agreements, or even though all employers were required to have written terms and conditions of employment, whether employment agreements for all employees. signed or unsigned. The Act also clarifies that in cases where the employee not agreed to the terms and conditions of employment it can not be treated as the individual employment agreement. 2) An employee can request a copy of the employment agreement and an employer must provide a copy as soon as reasonably practicable. These requirements can be enforced by a Department of Labour -Labour Inspector The Test for Justification The previous test required the Employment Relations The Act substitutes the word “could” for Authority (the Authority) or the courts to consider what a “would”. This means that a wider range of fair fair and reasonable employer “would” have done in the and reasonable responses are available to an circumstances. employer in any particular situation.
  4. 4. The Act didn’t state what the Authority or the courts had The Act now states that in deciding whether theto consider when deciding whether an employer’s actions employer’s actions, and how the employer acted,or decision to dismiss was justified. were what a fair and reasonable employer could have done in the circumstances at the time the dismissal or action occurred, the Authority or the courts must consider: (a) Whether the employer sufficiently investigated the allegations against the employee; having regard to the resources available to the employer, (b) Whether the employer raised concerns with the employee before taking action; (c) Whether the employer provided the employee with a reasonable opportunity to respond to these concerns; (d) Whether the employer genuinely considered the employee’s explanation. These minimum requirements are intended to reflect case law and clarify the process expectations on employers.There was nothing in the Act that referred to situations There is now an express provision in the Act thatwhere there were minor defects in the procedure states the Authority or the court must notfollowed by the employer. determine a dismissal or any action unjustifiable solely because of minor or technical defects in the process followed by the employer if those defects did not result in the probability that the employee was treated unfairly.
  5. 5. Mediators and the Authority can now Previously parties to a dispute could ask a mediator to Parties to a dispute can ask mediators or themake recommendations on resolving an make a decision that was binding and non appealable. Authority to make a recommendation about howemployment relationship problem There was no formal recommendation process. a problem should be resolved. Parties will have time to consider the recommendation, and either accept or reject it. If the recommendation is rejected by notice to the mediator or the Authority member then further mediation may occur or the Authority investigation and determination would take place.Penalty for obstructing or delaying The Act did not previously provide a specific penalty for The Authority can penalise a person (or his or herAuthority investigation parties who were deliberately delaying or obstructing the representative) who without sufficient cause resolution of a personal grievance in the employment obstructs or delays an Authority investigation. institutions. This includes failing to attend an Authority investigation (if required).Filtering out frivolous or vexatious The Authority had no power to dismiss cases with little or The Authority can now dismiss frivolous orcases no merit prior to a full investigation. vexatious claims or defences of claims (or parts of a claim or a defence). Parties have a right to appeal the this decision to the Authority.Reinstatement Reinstatement was the primary remedy in personal Reinstatement is no longer the primary remedy. grievance cases. It is now just one possible remedy the Authority or Court may consider where it is practicable and reasonable to do so.Employers consent required for union Unions could access a workplace for union purposes Union access to workplaces is now conditional onaccess without the need to obtain consent as long as they were the consent of the employer, but such consent exercising this right in a reasonable way. may not be unreasonably withheld.
  6. 6. Here is an overview of the key changes to the Holidays Act 2003: Previous law What’s changed Cashing up annual holidays Parties could not agree to cash out any annual leave that Parties can now agree that a maximum of one they were entitled to under the Act. Parties could agree toweek of annual leave can be cashed out. Employers cash out any annual leave that the employee was entitled may, in consultation with employees, have a policy to over and above the statutory minimum entitlement. that provides that the employer does not have to consider any requests to cash up annual holidays. A new averaging formula may be used Previously if it was not possible to determine an The Amendment Act introduces a new averaging where Relevant Daily pay for public employees relevant daily pay then an averaging formula formula “Average Daily Pay” (ADP). ADP replaces holidays, alternative holidays, sick based on gross earnings for the past four weeks could be the previous four week averaging formula. ADP is leave and bereavement leave is not used. based on the employee’s gross earnings over the obvious previous 52 weeks. ADP may be used when it is not possible or practicable to determine RDP or where an employee’s daily pay varies within the pay period concerned. Transfer of public holidays to another A 2007 decision of the Supreme Court ruled that the Act The Act now clarifies that parties can agree to working day did not enable the transfer of a public holiday to another transfer the observance of a public holiday to working day. another working day. The Act sets out a number of criteria that apply to any agreement to transfer public holidays. As with the cashing up of annual holidays, employers may have a policy that the employer will not enter into agreements to transfer public holidays.
  7. 7. Taking alternative holidays Where parties couldn’t agree on when an alternative If parties can’t agree on when an alternative holiday was to be taken then, within the first 12 months, holiday is to be taken then the employer can the employee could nominate when they would take the nominate when the alternative holiday is to be alternative holiday. After 12 months, the employer could taken. The employer must be reasonable when direct the employee to take the alternative holiday or the making this decision and provide 14 days notice of parties could agree to exchange the alternative holiday for the requirement to take the alternative holiday. payment.Proof of illness or injury for employees If an employee was away from work for less than three There has been no change for situations where theaway from work for 3 or less than 3 consecutive calendar days, the employer could ask for employee is away for three or more consecutiveconsecutive calendar days proof of sickness or injury if the employer had: calendar days. The change only relates to situations where the employee has been away for 1)reasonable grounds to suspect that sick leave was not less than three consecutive calendar days. genuine, and The Act removes the explicit requirement for an employer to have reasonable grounds to suspect 2)informed the employee as early as possible that the that sick leave is not genuine before the employer proof is required, and can request proof of sickness or injury. If the employer requires proof of sickness or injury when 3) met the employees reasonable expenses in obtaining the employee has been away for less than three proof. consecutive calendar days, employers are still required to: 1)inform the employee as early as possible that the proof is required, and 2) meet the employee’s reasonable expenses in obtaining proof.Public Holiday entitlements during A recent court decision held that employees did not have The Amendment Act clarifies the original policyclosedowns to be paid for public holidays that fell during a closedown intent that if a public holiday, alternative holiday, period as the public holidays were considered to not be sick leave or bereavement leave falls during a days that would otherwise be working days. closedown period, the factors in section 12 of the Act must be taken into account as if the closedown were not in effect, in order to determine whether it would otherwise be a working day for the employee.
  8. 8. This does not change current practice but ensures the legislation reflects the original intention of the Act.Definition of discretionary payments The Act didn’t define discretionary payments. The Act now provides that a discretionary payment(relevant for the calculation of gross isearnings) “ a payment that the employer is not bound, by the employees employment agreement, to pay the employee”; BUT if the payment is provided for in the employment agreement but the amount to be paid is not specified, or the payment is subject to certain conditions, then this is NOT a discretionary payment.
  9. 9. What’s Coming Up?Workshops *All free and conducted in English unless otherwise stated.Job Search Workshop5th April and 19th April, 9.30am—3.00pmWorkshop to assist with your job search. Held in conjunction with Career Services and the AucklandChamber of Commerce and other agencies.Legal ClinicsFridays, 9.30am—12.00pmHeval Hylan, Principal of Hylan Law Barrister & Solicitor, will be providing free 10-minutes legaladvice on immigration, family law, contract, trusts and other areas of law in general.Free Counselling Services to support newcomers to New ZealandFridays, 9.30am – 12.30pm, Bookings EssentialMaking a new life in a foreign country can sometimes be difficult and can sometimes feeloverwhelming. Talking with someone who understands may help you to make sense of what’shappening and assist you to move forward with confidence and hope.Free English Advisory ClinicsTuesdays, 10.30am – 12.30pmOur English language Advisor can provide you with a 20 minutes consultation and referrals to suitableproviders and courses. Note: Please contact ARMS for individual consultation and assessment.Legal Workshop: Working in New Zealand by Amicus LawSaturday, 2nd April, 9.00am – 12.00pmThe recession has left many migrants feeling vulnerable when seeking employment. This workshopseeks to explore available options for migrants and their employers when applying for work visas.Employer’s Tax and KiwiSaver workshopSaturday, 9th April, 9.00am – 12.30pmInland Revenue for new employers. All about tax codes, obligations, PAYE due dates, KiwiSaver,other reductions. Return filing procedures, IR-File Options, KiwiSaver employer contributions.Career Development & Training: Workplace English, Business and HospitalityThursday, 14th April, 10.00am – 12.00pmWanted further career development and training opportunities? Wanted to improve your workplaceEnglish? Wanted to find out more about a degree in business management and hospitality? Chinesespeakers available on site.Personal Financial Planning and ManagementSaturday, 16th April, 10.00am – 12.00pmWhat is personal financial planning? Do you know your financial resources? How to manage your risksin life through insurance and protect your estate? Why do you need a retirement plan? What shouldyou know for investment planning? Chinese ok.Marae VisitSaturday 30th April, 9.00am – 4.00pm – $15/ person, payment made at the time of registrationPowhiri/Welcome – introduction to Maori history and culture; flax weaving, Maori songs and Haka;Hangi lunch; Poroporoaki/Farewell; free transport; Certificate of Participation.For more information or to register contact ARMS on 09 625 2440 or Have you been forwarded this newsletter? If you would like to change your subscription details or unsubscribe email If youve been forwarded this newsletter and you wish to subscribe email Have you got any suggestions or feedback about the newsletter? Please email
  10. 10. がんばれ日本! Hang In there Japan!The Consul General of Japan in Auckland (, Mr Hachiro Ishida, expresses sincere appreciation forthe condolences and assistance received. The Japanese Society of Auckland (, the New Zealand Japan Society ofAuckland ( and Red Cross New Zealand, which are all working with the Japanese Red Cross Society, are acceptingdonations.Red Cross New Zealand is accepting donations ( or by cheque to:2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsumani Appeal, Freepost 232690 , PO Box 12140, Thorndon, Wellington 6144.
  11. 11. Are you looking for employment?The new and improved New Kiwis website has been launched!! is a free national jobsite for skilled migrantseligible to work in NZ who are seeking employment. New ZealandEmployers use our website to search for the skills they require. Ifa potential Employer is seeking your skills they will download yourCV and contact you directly by phone or email to arrange aninterview. You can sign up for e-mail alerts and also search the“job vacancy” section – just be aware many employers search thedatabase without posting their vacancy.Don’t have a CV?Once you register your information an automated PDF CV will becreated for you.Are you eligible to work in NZ?If you have a valid work permit, open work permit, working holidayvisa, permanent residency or citizenship then you are eligible towork in NZAct now – over the next few weeks we will be engaging NZEmployers to list their vacancies on our website and search ourdatabase for CV’s. If you do not want to miss out on thisopportunity then visit today to register as ajob seeker.New Kiwis is a partnership project between the AucklandChamber of Commerce and Department of Labour.
  12. 12. Elim Christian Centre Soul Food Festival CELEBRATING OUR CULTURAL DIVERSITY Enjoy International & Traditional Ethnic food,Music, Entertainment, Kids Activities SUNDAY 3RD APRIL 10 am BRING YOUR FRIENDS 74 Cook Street, Auckland City Note: Food will be on sale
  13. 13. The one and only show of its kind in New ZealandLiving. Working.Learning. & More. •••• ASB Showgrounds Logan Campbell Centre Greenlane Road Auckland 10am-4pm FREE ENTRY welcome everyone: new migrants, refugees, people relocating from christchurch international students, homestay families, school teachers & employers (if you are looking for staff, please don’t hesitate to contact us to see how we can help)
  14. 14. See us on youtube! FAST FACTS:new2auckland? (the Migrant Expo) is an WHO SHOULD ATTEND THE SHOW:established show for new and settled migrantsin New Zealand. This year the scope of the • New Migrants & Refugeesshow has been widened to cater to the • People who have relocated herespecific needs of people relocating from • NGO’s, members of Community GroupsChristchurch. • Have family, friends planning to migrate • International students, homestay parentsThe Migrant Expo was first organised • Job seekers, those changing career paths9 years ago, and it is still the only Expo of • Employers, recruitment agenciesits kind. It attracts the broader migrant • Government officialsmarket - European, Chinese, Indian, • School principals, staff and studentsFilipino, Korean, South African, African,Middle Eastern, North & South American,Canadian, US and other Asian migrants.WHO SHOULD BE EXHIBITING: SETTLEMENT SERVICES GOVERNMENT DEPTSnew2auckland? will feature a wholearray of information booths as well as COMMUNITY GROUPSinteresting products and services. EDUCATION,TRAINING SECTORS: These are only someof the sectors that have beenfeatured in the show in previous EMPLOYERSyears. We welcome suggestions fornew sectors that will enhance the H E A LT H S A F E T Yscope of the show. IMMIGRATION COMMUNITY GROUPS: Weoffer a huge discount to facilitate theparticipation of community groups in MIGRANT BUSINESSESthe show. Please don’t hesitate tocontact us to discuss your particular REAL ESTATEsituation - don’t let lack of funds bean obstacle. FRANCHISING EMPLOYERS: We are keen tohave employers and recruitment TRAVEL AGENCIEScompanies participate in the show.The cost of their booths will beheavily subsidised by the organiser. BANKINGPlease contact us to discuss specialarrangements to facilitate yourparticipation. MONEY TRANSFER PACKAGED FOOD
  15. 15. BREAKAWAY FREE Aquatic Holiday Programme April 2011 9.00am to 2.00pm Monday 18 – Thursday 21 April 2011 Tuesday 26 – Friday 29 April 2011Four days of aquatic activities for Years 6 – 8 studentsat Cameron Pool, 53 Arundal Street, Mount Roskill. improve your swimming play water games learn water safety skillsFor enrolments contact Angelo Naude, WaterSafe AucklandEmail Phone 09 306 Breakaway Holiday Programme is coordinated and delivered by WaterSafe Auckland with funding support fromthe Ministry of Social Development.