Employment Law, Government & Legislation

Kiwisaver and disabled employees

No, these two don’t belong together, instead I thought I combine two updates in one.

1. Disabled employees

A recent decision from an English Employment Tribunal confirmed that disabled employees taking sick leave have to be treated different to non-disabled employees. The UK Equality Act is similar to the New Zealand Human Rights Act in that it requires employers to provide ‘reasonable accomodation’ to disabled employees. What that means, of course, depends on indiviudal circumstances, which includes circumstances of employee and employer.

When it comes to sick leave, again, reasonable accomodation and adjustments have to be made. A disabled employee might have different requirements when it comes to taking sick leave, for instance requires more short sick leave (for instance once a month) or when sick, is away for a longer period than non-disabled employees. An employer has to take that into account and apply its sick leave policies accordingly. Common sense, really.


2. Kiwisaver

Employers can not build their Kiwisaver contributions into the total remuneration of an employee on minimum wage, if the effect is that the worker’s wage is then below the statutory minimum. This is the – not surprising – outcome of a recent Court of Appeal decision.

However, ‘total remuneration’ agreements can still be agreed on for all agreements entered into after 13 Dec 2007 (due to changes of the legislation under National/ Labour governments).