The rights and obligations of employers and employees

New to working in New Zealand?

Did you know that all workers have the same employment rights in New Zealand, no matter what their visa status? Employers have an obligation to ensure all their employees are receiving their minimum employment rights. Don’t get taken advantage of, know your rights.

Minimum employment rights include:

  • Four weeks' paid annual holidays at the end of each year of employment.
  • One 10-minute paid rest break for every four hours worked plus one unpaid 30-minute meal break when working more than four hours.
  • A signed employment agreement.
  • Employees aged 16 years and over must be paid at least the adult minimum wage rate.

Employers must:

  • Keep an accurate record of an employee’s time worked, payments, and holiday and Leave entitlements
  • Keep a signed copy of the employment agreement
  • Pay employees their daily pay or average daily pay (if applicable) for public holidays
  • Ensure that the person they’re employing has the legal right to work in NZ

Getting help

More information about minimum employment rights is available on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s  Labour website or you can call their contact centre on 0800 20 90 20 help and advice.

Handy Online Brochure

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has produced a handy online brochure that provides an overview of the rights and obligations of employers and employees.  It  provides useful information about public and annual holidays and leave; health and safety; minimum pay rates; and rules around paying wages.

This brochure , which is called “Minimum employment rights and obligations” has been translated into various languages.

The languages available are below:

•    Te Reo Māori
•    Traditional Chinese
•    Simplified Chinese
•    Samoan
•    Korean
•    Tongan
•    Thai
•    Tagalog

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment provides information about, and investigates problems to do with, employment and workplace health and safety. They can help employers and employees with enquiries about employment conditions, legal requirements, problem resolution, and ways to work better.

For more information, or if you have any questions please visit the Ministry's website or call free of charge on 0800 20 90 20.

Workplace Exploitation

The New Zealand Government is committed to preventing workplace exploitation of migrants, and protecting the victims of this crime. Immigration New Zealand, the Labour Inspectorate, and the New Zealand Police are here to protect, not punish, victims of this crime. Contact us, or your local Police, if you are exploited at work or you know someone who is.  Find out more.

Resolving employment relationship problems

A range of support is available for employees and employers to help resolve employment relationship problems. Find out more