Many employment agreements and job descriptions are prepared by employers inexperienced at writing legal documents. This often gives rise to unclear terms and conditions written into the agreements. Disputes can arise when the employer interprets one or more terms and conditions in a different way than the employee.
Recommendation: Written employment agreements are imperative (and mandatory). If an employee is not covered by a collective employment agreement (and they must be a union member to be so covered), the individual agreement must include:
- Names of employee and employer
- Job description
- Indication as to times employee is to work
- Indication of where the work is to be carried out
- The wages and salary payable to the employee, and
- Plain language dispute resolution procedure including the reference to the requirement that personal grievances must be advised to the Employer within 90 days.
Employment agreements are important documents and should be prepared by a human resource management or employment relations qualiﬁed practitioner.
In the event of a dispute arising, the employment agreement should determine the resolution process. If the employment agreement is silent on a dispute resolution process, the employer and employee should always try to discuss the matter and resolve it. If they cannot reach a solution, the Mediation Service of the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment can be contacted, free of charge, to assist in arranging mediation. In both these instances it is advisable to engage the services of a human resource management or employment relations qualiﬁed practitioner to act as advocate for either party. Experience has shown that there can be delays of several weeks in the mediation process to be arranged by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment . An alternative is for the employer and employee to engage a Mediator from “Resolve” to assist with the negotiations and resolution of the dispute.
If resolution is not able to be achieved during the mediation process, a reputable human resource management or employment relations qualiﬁed practitioner can assist to take the matter to the Employment Relations Authority.