Knowing employees’ rights over pay
The is the second article dealing with recent changes to employment laws.
CANCELLATION OF SHIFTS
If an employee is required to undertake shift work, the employer must not cancel a shift unless the employment agreement stipulates a reasonable notice period or reasonable compensation for cancellation without the required notice.
The period of notice is to be determined by relevant factors. They include the nature of the business and the ability to control or foresee circumstances giving rise to cancellation, the nature of the employee’s work and the likely effect of cancellation on the employee, the nature of the employment arrangement, agreed hours and guaranteed hours.
The compensation is determined by such factors as the period of notice, what remuneration would have been paid (if they had worked the shift) and costs the employee incurred in preparing for the shift.
The employee will be entitled to full pay if the shift is cancelled and the agreement does not com- ply, the shift is cancelled but no notification until the start of the shift, or the shift is cancelled partway through the shift.
An employer cannot prohibit an employee taking on secondary employment unless there are genuine grounds for the prohibition and those reasons are in the employment agreement.
The genuine reasons can be protecting an employer’s rights (eg commercially sensitive information, intellectual property, commercial reputation) and preventing conflicts of interest that cannot be done without the prohibition of secondary employment.
In addition, the restrictions must not be greater than necessary.
WAGES PROTECTION ACT
Until April 1, an employer can make deductions from payments to an employee with the employee’s written consent or at their written request (plus recovery of overpaid wages).
The new law allows deductions based on specific written consent and general consent in an employment agreement. However, an employer will not be able to make specific deductions on the basis of a general clause in the employment agreement without first consulting the worker.
Because employees can give notice to revoke a written consent (including one in an employment agreement) at any time, the requirement to consult could trig- ger a withdrawal of consent.
Employers must action the withdrawal of consent as soon as practicable, which will prevent the deduction of any payment the employee does not still agree to (despite prior agreement) with the exception of overpaid wages (in some circumstances).
The new law requires the recording of hours worked each day in the pay period and the amount paid for those hours.
If the employer and employee agree on the hours to be worked and the employee works those hours, then it is sufficient to record those in the wage and time records or employment agreement or in the roster record normally used in the workplace. Any additional hours worked must also be recorded.
It’s important to know exactly what pay you are entitled to.