Key changes to the Employment Relations Act 2000 and the Holidays Act 2003

Issue 26 – April 2011

Most changes to the Employment Relations Act 2000 and the Holidays Act 2003 came into effect on 1 April 2011. Below are some of the key changes that may impact on your business.

Employment Relations Act 2000:

  • all employers will be able to offer a 90-day trial period to new staff
  • there is a change to the test of justification used by the Employment Relations Authority or the court to determine if a dismissal or employer's action was unjustified
  • an employer's consent must now be obtained before a union can access a workplace
  • there has been clarification that employers can communicate with employees during collective bargaining as long as such communication is in good faith
  • from 1 July 2011, employers will be required to retain signed copies of individual employment agreements.

Holidays Act 2003:

  • employees will be able to request that their employer cashes up a maximum of one of their 4 weeks of annual leave
  • employees will be able to request to transfer a public holiday and observe it on another working day
  • a new averaging formula can be used if it is not possible or practicable to work out relevant daily pay or if 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 3 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
  • changes to the rules on taking alternative holidays.

Visit the Department of Labour's website to find out more about the changes (

Information supplied by the Department of Labour.

Published in business and ICT.