Ph: 09 430 0113

May 2022 Newsletter






Topics for discussion:

  • Employer Services Limited – 20 years
  • (Un) Fair Pay Agreements
  • Employment Agreements
  • Disciplinary Action
  • Redundancy or Restructuring
  • Bullying


  1. Employer Services Limited (ESL) – 20 years

After serving employers for six years, Murray Broadbelt left the employ of a business organisation in late May 2002 and began his own business on Tuesday 4 June 2002. Working out of Dairy House on Porowini Avenue in downtown Whangarei, Employer Services Northland Limited humbly began its 20-year history with Murray and a part-time secretary.


Not long after, Wendy Silver came on board to provide administrative assistance. Over time, Wendy began providing employment relations advice to our clients, and is now an experienced Employment Relations Consultant with a significant client base.


An opportunity arose in 2006 to purchase an old house at 82 Maunu Road and upgrading it to offices – where we are still based to this day. Maunu Road has served us well, being only one kilometre from the CBD and with plenty of off-street parking. The Company also changed its name in July 2006 by dropping “Northland” to reflect the increasing number of clients outside of our region, even though our primary client base is still Whangarei and Northland.


Our services to clients have remained fairly constant, pretty much anything employers need in the employment relations and employment law fields. Recently we have seen an increase in bullying complaints and employers have sought our advice and assistance to independently investigate such complaints. In accordance with the Private Security Personnel and Private Investigators Act 2010, Employer Services Limited has a Company licence with the Private Security Personnel Licensing Authority (PSPLA) and two of our team (Murray and Dave Watson) have individual licences as well.


Our client base covers a range of industries and sectors. We still have strong relationships with aged care facilities, clubs and Trusts, where historically much of our work came from in the early years.


Today, Murray, Wendy and Dave make up the ESL team. ESL will continue to be a strong performer in the Employment Relations marketplace in Northland.


As well as being the principal of ESL over the last 20 years, Murray has served the Northland community as a Trustee of Foundation North (formerly known as ASB Community Trust) for eight years, and remains a Board member of the Northland Chamber of Commerce and Northland Rescue Helicopters. Murray’s also qualified as an independent mediator.


  1. (Un) Fair Pay Agreements

Fair Pay Agreements (FPA) will be coming to a place near you, either later this year or early next year.


We hate using the word “fair” as there is little fairness in the Bill before Parliament. It has not been lost on commentators that using the word “fair” in the name is purely Government PR to make it sound better.


The Government’s Employment NZ website says:

The Fair Pay Agreement system will bring together employers and unions within a sector to bargain for minimum terms and conditions for all employees in that industry or occupation.


Unions will represent employees, whether union members or not. No one else can represent them, only unions, because the law will say so. Employers will be represented by incorporated societies such as Business NZ or the EMA (Employers’ and Manufacturers’ Association), but they have said No!


A minimum of 1,000 employees or 10% of the sector/industry is all that is needed to initiate bargaining. That is not 1,000 or 10% from any individual employer, but from workers in that sector/industry across the country.


There will be some of you who remember the National Industrial Awards of the 1970s and 1980s. FPAs look and smell very much like those old awards. What FPA means is that some people (probably in Wellington) are going to negotiate the pay rates, terms and conditions for all employees.


Bus drivers have been talked about as being the first cab off the rank. We are guessing it won’t be long before others, such as clerical workers and retail assistants set up an FPA claim. Let’s take Retail Assistants: the likely coverage clause would include anyone that sells in a workplace. It really won’t matter if the retail assistant has a fancy title or not.


Rates of pay will be set for all of New Zealand and there could potentially be penal rates such as, for example, time-and-a-half after eight hours; time-and-a-half for the first three hours on Saturdays and double time thereafter, including Sundays.


The Minister of Workplace Relations, Michael Wood, has said that Labour campaigned on this at the last Election, and the Government has the numbers, so unless the Government thinks it might be a vote loser (think cycle lane on the Auckland Harbour Bridge), then expect the Bill to be passed.


Business NZ and the EMA will be campaigning against the Bill. Hopefully opposition parties in Parliament won’t leave all the heavy lifting to the employer organisations. National and Act need to get themselves on the leader board and score some points.

To show your opposition to the FPA, please click on the link below and sign the petition:


  1. Employment Agreements

This segment is one of our hardy annuals. Believe it or not, there are still employees without an employment agreement!


Most employees do have agreements but they need updating – maybe every couple of years or so. We have the experience and expertise to produce and review agreements and to tailor them to your business’s specific needs; it is a specialty area of our business. The MBIE website’s Agreement Builder does not offer the tips and advice that we can. Call or email our office.


  1. Disciplinary Action

The reason an employer might undertake disciplinary action with an employee is usually to improve the employee’s behaviour or performance. If the behaviour is very serious, it can result in termination of employment. To avoid personal grievances for unjustified dismissal or unjustified disadvantage, get advice from our team before embarking on the process, particularly if you are unfamiliar with the process. Even if an employer has the substantive evidence correct, e.g. employee seen stealing, the process must be carried out properly or the employer could easily face a ten, twenty or thirty thousand dollar personal grievance. The Employment Relations Authority’s remedies have increased significantly.


  1. Redundancy or Restructuring

Any redundancy must be genuine! It is extremely easy for an employee to raise a personal grievance for unjustified dismissal, claiming the redundancy was not genuine and /or the process of how the employer went about it was flawed. Call us for advice.


  1. Bullying

A bullying complaint by an employee needs to be taken seriously by the employer, even if it is to confirm it is not bullying but something else perhaps less serious. There is little or no defence if at an Employment Relations Authority hearing, the employer is asked why they didn’t investigate or look into the complaint. I don’t know what it feels like to be dead in the water, but this must be close to it.


We can assist with bullying complaints by independently investigating and recommending improvements to policies and procedures.


  1. Subscribe to Mail Chimp

If you haven’t already done so, please click on the link below to subscribe to our Mail Chimp database: []



Murray, Wendy and Dave




2002 – 2022