You should seek professional or legal advice with any matters involving legislation.
Here, you will find the latest updates, information and access to new resources for dairy farm management.
New Dairy Farm Effluent Compliance Checklist - Otago
New Minimum Wage Rates
The Minister of Labour has recently announced increases to the minimum wage rates. From 1 April 2011, the adult minimum wage will increase to $13.00 an hour (from $12.75) and the new entrants’ minimum wage and the training minimum wage will increase to $10.40 an hour (from $10.20).
As the implementation of these new rates approaches, now is a great time to review your equivalent hourly rates and ensure you are meeting your legal obligations.
New Quad Bike Safety Guidelines
In April 2011 new Guidelines for the Safe Use of Quad Bikes in Agriculture published by the Department of Labour will come into force. Relevant to all dairy farmers who own or use quad bikes (ATVs) as part of their work on farm, the guidelines will help reduce the death and injury toll by providing practicable steps farmers can take to manage hazards associated with quad bikes and meet their obligations under the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 (HSE Act) in relation to the use of quad bikes.
It is important that you read, understand and communicate these guidelines with everyone on farm as they may be used as a reference base for compliance to establish whether a farmer has taken all practicable steps under the HSE Act in any situation involving a quad bike.
Changes to the Employment Relations and Holidays Acts
In late 2010 several amendments were made to the Employment Relations Act and the Holidays Act.
Employment Relations Act
Trial periods: From 1 April 2011, the 90 day trial period has been extended to all employers, meaning that:
Employment Agreements: From July 1 2011 all employers must retain a copy of each employee’s employment agreement.
Holidays Amendment Act 2010
Cashing in Annual Leave: From April 1 2011, employees will be able to request that up to one week of their annual leave entitlement is paid in cash, meaning of an employee’s four weeks annual leave entitlement, they are able to get paid cash for up to one week, and then are still required to have time away from work for the remaining three. The employee must be entitled to this time (no time in advance) and can request a maximum of one week per entitlement year.
Transfer of public holidays: From April 1 2011, employers and employees can agree to transfer the observance of a public holiday to another working day. This can be at the employer or employee’s request, but both parties should agree. In situations where agreement cannot be met, an employer can direct when alternative days can be taken, but they must give at least 14 days notice of date when the leave must be taken.
Sick leave: From April 1 2011, employers are entitled to request proof of sickness or injury within three (3) consecutive calendar days without having reasonable grounds to suspect that the sick leave is not genuine.