Does an employment agreement have to be signed?

21 Jun 2011 10:28 AM | Anonymous

Amendments to the Employment Relations Act 2000 mean that from 1 July 2011 employers are required to retain a signed copy of all employment agreements or current signed terms and conditions of employment.

Where an employer has provided an employee with an intended agreement the employer must retain the intended agreement even if the employee has not signed it or agreed to the terms and conditions specified. An intended agreement cannot be treated as the parties' employment agreement if the employee has not signed or not agreed to the terms and conditions.

If the employee does not accept an intended agreement, the employer should enter into good faith negotiations to reach agreement.  If negotiations are unsuccessful, the employer should record what happened and the outcome of the negotiations.  A copy of the intended agreement must be retained on file along with the current terms and conditions of employment, signed or unsigned.

Employers are required to provide a copy of the agreement on request from their employees.

From July 1 2011, labour inspectors will be able to seek a penalty against an employer who is in breach of legislation relating to employment agreements, including the requirement for all employers to retain a copy of the intended and current employment agreement or terms and conditions of employment, whether signed or unsigned. Employers will be given seven working days notice of to fix the breach. Where the breach is not remedied the inspector can take a penalty action in the Employment Relations Authority.  Click here for more information. 
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