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Learning & Information | Rukuhia Te Puna Mātauranga

Rights and responsibilities at work

Young man reading a work document

All workers have the right to be treated fairly and with respect. Your employer is responsible for making sure the workplace is safe, and that reasonable accommodations are made to meet your individual needs.

Your employer also has to act within the law and provide things like holiday, sickness and bereavement leave and meal or rest breaks.

Workers have responsibilities too. You need to arrive at work on time and with the correct clothing and equipment so you can do your job. If for any reason you can’t go to work, you must let your employer know.

You will be expected to follow any reasonable instructions, to work in a safe way and take care of any equipment you use. You should also treat your other workmates with respect.

Your rights and responsibilities will be written down in an employment agreement. Everyone should have a written employment agreement and it’s important you understand what’s in it. You should be given a copy to read and keep. You can also get someone else to read it, like a friend or family member, or a lawyer or other advocate.

Employment New Zealand provides information about all your rights and entitlements as an employee. It also provides information for employers to help remove barriers to employment.

People First New Zealand is a self-advocacy organisation that is led and directed by people with learning/intellectual disability. People First have created easy-read information about rights and responsibilities for employees, including an easy-read individual employment agreement that you can print and use.

The Your rights at work booklet from People First also includes information about your pay and the minimum wage exemption – this is where an employer pays less than the minimum wage. An employer can only pay you less than minimum wage if you agree, and only if the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment approves. You can learn more about the minimum wage exemption at Employment New Zealand.

Your employment agreement should also tell you what you should do if you are experiencing problems or feel you’re not being treated fairly at work. You could also contact Employment New Zealand on 0800 20 90 20 for information, or take a look at our page on advocacy and legal support to find places you can get advice.

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