The 1 April 2016 legislative changes also address the zero hour contracts and includes changes to hours of work commitments and what employers can expect from employees and aims to increase certainty for both parties.
When the employer and the employee agree to hours of work, those hours must be stated in the employment agreement including the number of hours, start and finish times or the days of the week the employee will work. The employer and employee do not have to agree on hours but when they do it must be recorded in the employment agreement.
Employers are now prohibited from the following practices:
- Not committing to any hours of work, and expecting employees to be available when required
- Expecting employees to be available above their agreed hours, without reasonable compensation. Employers are not obliged to offer, and employees are free to decline, work that is above the agreed hours.
- Requiring employees to be available, without a genuine reason based on reasonable grounds
- Canceling a shift without reasonable notice or reasonable compensation to the employee. Notice period and reasonable compensation must be agreed and stated in the employment agreement. If the employee has commenced their shift or if reasonable notice period or compensation is not recorded, the employee is entitled to what they would have otherwise earned for that shift.
- Putting unreasonable restrictions on secondary employment of employees. Reasonable ground for restriction could be related to risk of loss to the employer of knowledge, property or reputation or to prevent a real and unmanageable conflict of interest.
- Making unreasonable deductions from employees’ wages. Employees must now consent to deductions from wages. Deductions to cover losses caused by a third party through breakages or theft may be unreasonable.