05 Jul 2023
Important update to Employment Agreement Templates
There has been a recent change which hopefully no one will ever have to actually face, but has a requirement for updating policies and new Employment Agreements.
From 13th June 2023, employees will have 12 months to raise a personal grievance related to sexual harassment. The Employment Relations (Extended Time for Personal Grievance for Sexual Harassment) Amendment Act allows employees more time to raise a personal grievance, rising from 90 days to 12 months. For all other personal grievances, the time to notify the employer is unchanged at 90 days.
The new time applies to sexual harassment events that happened, or came to the notice of the employee, on or after 13 June 2023. The new time applies even if the employee leaves the employment during the 12-month period. Reporting sexual harassment can be difficult. It is common for victims of sexual harassment to wait a long time before coming forward, if at all. The change will improve the personal grievance process for victims of sexual harassment which has occurred in their employment by allowing them more time to consider what has happened before deciding to come forward.
All employment agreements are required to have an explanation of how to address employment problems, in our templates, it is Schedule 3 that will need updating. The new information needs to be in all new Employment Agreements. You don’t need to give new agreements to current employees, but we do recommend informing all your staff of the new time frame. It may be appropriate to put this new information in your Staff Handbook or Health and Safety policies. The usual process for adjusting your Staff Handbook is to inform everyone in your team of the proposed new wording / information, allow them an opportunity to comment, consider any feedback and then finalise the change. In this case, it is a legal requirement, so consultation is not strictly necessary.
If you have any questions about this change, or would like help with wording for templates or communicating with your team, please give us a call on 0800 383 737.
– Meredith MacKenzie, People & Culture Specialist