3 key employment policies every New Zealand business needs

Published date24 April 2023
Subject MatterEmployment and HR, Discrimination, Disability & Sexual Harassment, Health & Safety, Employee Rights/ Labour Relations
Law FirmLegalVision
AuthorMr Chris Elias

All New Zealand businesses should have employment policies in place to manage important issues like health and safety and bullying and harassment. They should include:

  • how employees should act;
  • what the rules are; and
  • what the consequences and processes are if problems do arise.

Having policies in place helps avoid more significant problems in the future. This article will explain what employment policies actually are and how they work. It will also look at three employment policies your business should have, including a:

  1. code of conduct;
  2. health and safety policy; and
  3. policy on bullying and harassment.
What Are Employment Policies?

Policies describe expectations for employees in a particular workplace. In addition, a policy sets out those expectations formally in a medium that all employees can access and refer to. Employment 'policies' can also include:

  • codes;
  • guidelines;
  • procedures;
  • manuals; and
  • rules.

Policies extend employment agreements by providing relevant information on an employee's rights and responsibilities in specific areas.

It is important to record policies in writing and ensure that staff can access them.

As well as providing staff with access to policies, we recommend ensuring your employees are familiar with them. You can achieve this by holding inductions, ongoing training sessions and related assessments.

Employment policies can cover a wide range of content, providing rules for:

  • conduct;
  • health and safety;
  • bullying and harassment;
  • lateness and absence;
  • IT usage;
  • conflicts of interest and accepting gifts;
  • privacy;
  • training and development;
  • flexible working; and
  • managing performance issues.

Some of these key employment policies are summarised below.

3 Key Employment Policies

There are three crucial policies that every New Zealand business should have.

1. Code of Conduct

The most common and basic policy is a code of conduct. This is vital for creating and cementing a positive culture at your business. Your code of conduct does not have to be complex and should set general expectations for everyone in the business.

Therefore, it is a good idea to articulate the values the business wants to foster in leaders and team members. This helps to align conduct with your company's:

  • values;
  • principles; and
  • mission.

2. Health and Safety Policy

Health and safety are extremely important in New Zealand. Consequently, recent legislation has placed requirements on businesses to protect their workers by taking all 'reasonable, practicable...

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